On a day when breaking news in two of the sports that have managed to return in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus, NASCAR and professional golf, have focused on things that happened (or in NASCAR’s case, didn’t happen) off-field, it’s looking like another sport’s 2020 season might happen after all — if reports are correct.
ESPN reporter Jeff Passan:
The Major League Baseball Players Association has agreed to report to training camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season, sources tell ESPN, but deal is not finalized yet.
One last health-and-safety hurdle to get over and Major League Baseball will be back a week from tomorrow.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
USA Today Sports columnist Bob Nightengale:
#MLB and the #MLBPA continue to exchange ideas with the health and safety protocols. There are no major snags. The union already informed MLB that it plans to play, and be in spring training camps by July 1 with a 60-game season starting July 24-26 weekend.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 23, 2020
CBS Sports analyst Jim Bowden:
#MLBPA has informed #MLB players will report on July 1st for July 24 Opening Day. 60 Game season in 66 days. They are both still working on finalizing safety and health protocols which quite frankly will be something both parties will continue to improve on going forward.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) June 23, 2020
The news follows Monday’s announcement by team owners that they would impose this season on players, contingent on the MLB Players Association (players union) answering two directives, CBS Sports reported, both “the players’ ability to report to camp within a week (by July 1) and the ratification of a safety and testing protocol for COVID-19.” One of those questions, the report date, has been supplied. That just leaves the coronavirus safety and testing protocol.
One person asking questions on that point is Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jake Diekman:
How is baseball back if we haven’t agreed on health and safety yet? Sources?
— Jake Diekman (@JakeDiekman) June 23, 2020
As NBC Sports reported, Diekman, who suffers from an autoimmune condition, isn’t the only player with health concerns that could put them at risk:
The left-handed reliever has ulcerative colitis which is an autoimmune condition. In layman’s terms, he needs to be extra careful. Others with ulcerative colitis are oftentimes put on medication that could suppress the immune system which would raise the risk of infection.
Diekman, of course, isn’t the only individual in the league who has a health issue that could put him more at risk. Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop for instance Didi Gregorius, has a kidney disorder which causes it to well, simply put — not work 100 percent of the time.
The Phillies had at least five players and three staff members test positive for coronavirus this weekend.
It also leaves fans across the country with questions on what a 60-game baseball season that starts in late July would look like, after Major League Baseball and the union held the National Pastime hostage until now with their very public bickering. But, maybe this is one way we can start to banish some of the doom and gloom, America. The real possibility that we’re going to see live baseball this season is reason enough to celebrate. Then we can go from there.
h/t: Mary Chastain