MLB: There is a giant hole in the MLB plan to start baseball, find out here

William Parlee

The New York Yankees and all 30 MLB teams are going to have a delicate dance to navigate to start playing baseball.  The biggest one is the coronavirus that controls everything that will happen.  MLB presented the plan to start the major league owners last week.  The owners near immediately approved the plan.  The owners are reportedly losing up to $75 million a day.  The Players Union was presented the plan that was dead on arrival due to a revenue-sharing clause in the play, something the union called a non-starter.

Money is not the only problem.  Players to varying degrees are concerned about the health risk.  To address that, the MLB has put together a 67-page health initiative.  That initiative, at first glance, seems like a military approach that covers everything in a player’s daily life.  Everything from a limit to how long a baseball can be used to a rule that will no longer let players spit.  No unnecessary people in the dugout, no media, and no showering.  And with the 67-page document, the rules go on and on.  But there is one giant hole in the health plan.

If a MLB player tests positive for the virus, he is not necessarily quarantined for 14 days, only until he tests negative twice in a 24 hour period.  That’s not good but it is not the biggest omission in the plan.  Players that have come in contact with that same player do not have to self-quarantine at all, which is against every CDC and local recommendations.  This hole could be the death knell to completing a season if one starts.  If a player tests positive and he has had close contact with several other players, those players could further spread the virus without knowing.

In the worst-case scenario, it could cripple a team if the disease becomes widespread within the organization. It could cause the team to shut down operations for two weeks or for good that would end the season.  That presents the next question, what will MLB do if a team is lost to the coronavirus?  There most likely will be several amendments to the total MLB plan before baseball starts.  This void in the health plan most likely will have to be dealt with.

Discounting the above, there are still sixteen areas with stay at home orders still in effect.  MLB will have to work with local officials to iron out those opening problems, or teams may have to play in neutral locations until local directives allow teams to play in their own stadiums.  The nation as a whole is opening to some degree.  This may be good for the economy but may also spread the virus if people don’t follow the local rules seriously.  With summer just four weeks away, people are going to want to get out and naturally congregate.  If that happens, we are likely to experience a resurgence in the virus that may lead to a second shut down, which will be devasting to the economy and to all sports.

According to The Athletics Ken Rosenthal, the MLB negotiations are at a standstill and the Players Union will not even talk until the owners remove the revenue-sharing part of the plan.  The owners will not speak with the union until they are willing to discuss parts fo the plan that they don’t like. Rosenthal says something has got to give.  Meanwhile, the start clock is ticking and will eventually pass a time that a season can’t be put together.