Baumann: Is MLB’s plan to return safe? Health experts break down the proposal

From SABR member Michael Baumann at The Ringer on May 26, 2020:

No matter how it looks—umpires in N95 masks, players standing six feet apart in the dugout, no fans in the stands—a sportsless nation cries out for American baseball. By July, the current target for a rescheduled Opening Day, Americans will have been under social distancing protocols for nearly four months. Even if Katie Casey’s boyfriend can’t provide them with the whole peanuts-and-cracker-jack experience, by that point just having a live Yankees–Red Sox game on TV would be close enough.

Actually pulling that off, though, will require a titanic logistical undertaking. League owners and the players association face a potential gridlock over health, economic, and labor issues: MLB sent the MLBPA a 67-page proposal on May 15 detailing how the league could return to action; the MLBPA issued a response last Thursday. From the tenor of the talks, it’s clear that everything about the 2020 season—from the truncated draft to empty ballparks to the universal DH—has to be made up essentially on the fly. Still, there are tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars on the line. As strained as player-owner relations are at the moment, there’s an inexorable incentive for both sides to come together for some solution, any solution, as long as we get pro baseball in the United States this year.

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Originally published: May 26, 2020. Last Updated: May 26, 2020.