SURPRISE, ARIZONA - APRIL 07: General view outside of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals spring training facility, Surprise Stadium on April 07, 2020 in Surprise, Arizona. According to reports, Major League Baseball is considering a scenario in which all 30 of its teams play an abbreviated regular season without fans in Arizona's various baseball facilities, including Chase Field and 10 spring training venues.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There are too many what-ifs with Major League Baseball’s apparent plan to start the 2020 season. In the end, it’s an illogical idea.

Rich Mancuso

“Logistically, it’s trying to go to the moon in a Volkswagen. Too many obstacles.”

Regarding the logistics, a proposed way for MLB to begin the 2020 season has caused a buzz. The aforementioned statement from a veteran baseball scout does offer some logic in a nutshell.

We want baseball and all sports. Yes, there should be reporting from the ballparks and the writing of deadline features up in the press box. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the journalistic direction. We now write about a classic game of the past, a fantasy lineup, and who was the best position player or pitcher.

Nonetheless, wanting real baseball is a general agreement. The games are postponed and the timeline passes. With each day, another game gets crossed off the schedule and more questions arise.

So where do we go from here?

Well, MLB has a proposal to save the 2020 season. It’s reported concept does carry many flaws though. Keep in mind, returning to normalcy and assuring we’re safe is the main priority.

Logistics say that Major League Baseball games taking place in Arizona will be difficult to save the 2020 season. In other words, this is complicated towards gearing for a June 1 start.

Overall, the plan for all 30 teams to play ball in Arizona, in reality, is a delusion and absurd. 

ESNY reached out to players and scouts, who questioned the concept of sitting in distance and not in dugouts at the selected venues.

They had doubts about a robot umpire behind home plate, a schedule of seven-inning doubleheaders, the extreme heat of Arizona’s summer months, and to top it off, no fans in attendance. They’re additionally concerned about the expanded roster and lack of a minor league system.

And it’s more than the minimal revenue they’d earn. Players are receiving pay towards their contracts until the end of May, as per agreement with owners and the players union.

The main issue, they say, is taking part in the overall quarantine. They’re timid. There are concerns regarding travel, separation from families, and the risk of players testing positive for the virus. It would all make things more complicated and cause another disruption of the season.

Here in New York — the epicenter of this coronavirus — we shouldn’t expect baseball in 2020. Whether the numbers go down, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium will remain dark. It’s a simple concept to understand, being that we’re at risk even when this crisis abates.

New York Mets players have scattered to their homes around the country. Their spring training and minor league complexes in Port St. Lucie, Florida are closed. Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, and Marcus Stroman are across the state in Tampa, finding ways to stay in baseball shape.

J.D. Davis, after a light workout Monday, packed the car with his wife and began a cross-country drive home to Elk Grove, California.

“It would be interesting [to go with MLB’s plan], don’t know if it’s doable,” Davis said as he continued his journey across Texas. “It’s such a big group to quarantine.”  

Players would need another 2-3 weeks of spring training. You must get them in-place with many in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. 

None of this seems logical. And how would owners divide any revenue? Gate receipts and concessions are a major revenue source. Television networks would fulfill their billion-dollar agreements with MLB, but the assumption is this would be at a lower scale.

White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzalez, when reached at his home in the Miami area, provided his thoughts on the plan.

“The world is out as a whole right now. It’s scary. It’s not fun,” he said. “They don’t know how far this is going to go. We all love baseball and want to be realistic.”

He added there’s also that lingering concern regarding a quarantine.

“What am I going to do with my kids, my family? I’m not a robot, I’m not a lab rat.”

In the end, MLB is looking to provide that diversion. It worked after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. But this is so much different. We’re fighting a war that has no remedy at the moment.

Too many obstacles and a long way from this becoming a reality, MLB will listen to the medical authorities. Nevertheless, baseball can wait until the game is played the right way. 

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