PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 13: A family leaves the Seattle Mariners team store outside of Peoria Stadium on March 13, 2020 in Peoria, Arizona. Major League Baseball cancelled spring training games and has delayed opening day by at least two weeks due to COVID-19.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I fully realize our sports world seems to be in a state of shambles due to coronavirus but let’s make sure as a country our focus is on the right thing—the safety and health of all Americans.

We have all seen this country put hero worship on the shoulders of athletes, actors, and musicians but that is severely misplaced. And hopefully, the one positive that could come out of the coronavirus outbreak is the realization that the doctors, nurses, and medical staff are the real heroes in our country. They battle sickness and disease even in the best of times and I can personally attest to that fact.

It is great that we admire the way an athlete hits a baseball or the way a musician sings or the characters that actors portray, but the true heroes in this country will see us through this–medical staff and researchers who are working around the clock to help battle this situation.

We all know that our wallets will likely suffer because of lack of work and we also know that being in a state of solitude in our homes will be very challenging. But in comparison to those affected by the virus, these are small issues.

As far as the sports world is concerned, patience is a key here. Yes, sports will return but it must return only when we know the lives of all of us will be safe in a crowded public setting and not a second before. Economically, we will rebound and yes the country will help us. A great first step might be extending the tax filing deadline two or three months to say June 15, lessening the load.

Another great idea might be to set up tax breaks for banks or landlords to help tenants and homeowners by lowering rent or mortgage payments the next few months. For those approaching retirement, perhaps increasing the amount of non-taxable income we could deposit into IRA’s might help as well.

But the big thing is to understand that huge public gatherings can only intensify this issue and can not be in our near future. And of course, those who are using this terrible epidemic to foster any political gain should be taken to task for taking advantage of the situation.

Our parents went through this in the ’40s with a country at war while factories had to help produce products for our military efforts and that was accomplished. Let’s try something like that today with factories and companies producing much needed products like soap and tissue paper and then using their truck cargoes to get the product out to those in need.

Yes sports are a huge part of my life and I will still try to write columns to help those who love baseball and miss it. But my focus is on safety right now and Americans need to keep their eye on the ball (no pun intended). To be honest, I miss baseball so much and even went to a batting cage yesterday to hear the ball hit the bat, but I also know my love for this country is fervent and resides in my soul much like baseball. And I know in both cases you need help from every teammate to win the game.

And this is a game we MUST win—so check in on your elderly neighbors and go to the store for them, make sure your hands and face get sanitized frequently. And listen to your health care providers who are the true heroes in this country. Baseball will be back and we will continue to argue like Lincoln Douglas debaters over the sport in short time. But let’s not debate about coronavirus—it is an epidemic that must be stopped and the only way to do that is by listening to our government officials and health care providers.

And use this time to try to appreciate the things in life we take for granted—like friendship, freedom, love and yes–entertainment like sports. It will be back but not a second before we beat coronavirus into submission. And I know if history is correct, this country always does just that. Winning this fight will not be easy or quick but every one of us has a role in it. God bless you all and please stay safe and healthy.

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