Despite the current, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the players’ association are working around the clock to increase the possibilities of playing ball again this year. Losing the 2020 season would be catastrophic from a financial standpoint, but so far, it is very difficult to imagine professional sports being played in the near future. That means the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, two clubs that play in America’s most affected city when it comes to coronavirus cases and deaths, probably won’t be playing at home anytime soon.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN that he wasn’t confident that New York would open up large gatherings in June, July, or even August, which would leave September as the most likely date to consider games with fans in the stands, at least in New York city.
However, MLB is currently considering Arizona and Florida to host major league teams for the entire season in a shortened schedule. It represents quite a challenge, but the option is there, with a division realignment that would favor the Yankees and affect the Mets.
To know more about the possibilities of playing this year, the league needs medical information about the disease. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB employees are participating in a study that will “test up to 10,000 people for coronavirus antibodies and should offer researchers a better sense of how widespread the disease is in major metropolitan areas across the United States.”
Passan says that this development will not necessarily speed up the return of baseball, as it will be done to provide medical professionals with crucial and geographically diverse data that will help them understand COVID-19’s prevalence and infection rate.
It is unclear if the Mets will take part
It remains to be seen which current members of the New York Mets will be part of the study.
The league likely won’t precipitate a return to action if the results of the study are not encouraging. Several people will participate in the tests, including but not limited to players. Front office staff, concession workers and others will take part, as well.
“This is the first study of national scope where we’re going to get a read on a large number of communities throughout the United States to understand how extensive the spread of the virus has been,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University who will assess the gathered data. “This will be the very first of those. Why MLB versus other employers? I’ve reached out to others, but MLB moved by far the fastest. They’ve been enormously cooperative and flexible. We’re trying to set up a scientific study that would normally take years to set up, and it’s going to be a matter of weeks.”