MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

grimshaw

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Honestly, I doubt very few athletes would actually sit out. Imagine being the one policeman in your department choosing not to work. I get that one is an essential service and one isn't, but I can't imagine it would sit well with the rest of the players if they are out there risking it without their families.

Plus these are healthy guys in their 20's and 30's basically living in a biodome and likely being tested daily. I'd love to have that luxury when I'm dealing with dozens of customers face to face every day for a 50th of the pay.
 

Salem's Lot

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Honestly, I doubt very few athletes would actually sit out. Imagine being the one policeman in your department choosing not to work. I get that one is an essential service and one isn't, but I can't imagine it would sit well with the rest of the players if they are out there risking it without their families.

Plus these are healthy guys in their 20's and 30's basically living in a biodome and likely being tested daily. I'd love to have that luxury when I'm dealing with dozens of customers face to face every day for a 50th of the pay.
Nobody is sitting out if the PA and the owners agree to pay. Everything you hear now is part of the negotiation.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Honestly, I doubt very few athletes would actually sit out. Imagine being the one policeman in your department choosing not to work. I get that one is an essential service and one isn't, but I can't imagine it would sit well with the rest of the players if they are out there risking it without their families.

Plus these are healthy guys in their 20's and 30's basically living in a biodome and likely being tested daily. I'd love to have that luxury when I'm dealing with dozens of customers face to face every day for a 50th of the pay.
Cops make a whole lot less than ballplayers do, so skipping a year is a different thing entirely for so many reasons
 

grimshaw

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Cops make a whole lot less than ballplayers do, so skipping a year is a different thing entirely for so many reasons
That's not the point I'm going for. Take the actual profession out of the analogy. Being the only person on a team, in a department, etc not working is going to create some tension.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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That's not the point I'm going for. Take the actual profession out of the analogy. Being the only person on a team, in a department, etc not working is going to create some tension.
Sort of the mirror image of scab players during a strike?

Not that I want to really be in a position to defend the owners, but even though most if not all franchises are worth in excess of a billion dollars, I can't imagine they're all set up financially to just power through a gate-less (or significantly light gate) season without consequences to their future. I don't think any teams are going to go under or anything, but some could get close to that. It'd be one thing to take that risk if 2021 and beyond were assured to be back to business as usual. It's a possibility that the virus could compromise part or all of the 2021 season as well. For the future of the league, both players and owners are going to have to take some sort of loss in the short term. It doesn't have to be a 50/50 split necessarily, but the players can't expect to get 100% of their pre-virus salaries like Snell seems to want. There has to be some sort of fair compromise.
 

JimD

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I sincerely hope that the owners and the PA realize that if they can't find common ground and end up shitcanning the 2020 season, and then the NFL comes back and is able to safely resume play, the sport of baseball will suffer immeasurable losses and will never be the same. It is one thing if health reasons dictate a shutdown, but they cannot allow money to be the reason that no games are played this year.
 

JCizzle

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I sincerely hope that the owners and the PA realize that if they can't find common ground and end up shitcanning the 2020 season, and then the NFL comes back and is able to safely resume play, the sport of baseball will suffer immeasurable losses and will never be the same. It is one thing if health reasons dictate a shutdown, but they cannot allow money to be the reason that no games are played this year.
The NBA would also be a really bad look. Having playoff basketball games on in July while the MLB is at home would not be good. The NBA has been eyeing the summer for awhile and this might push them further in that direction long term.
 

Gash Prex

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I don't get how baseball can't figure this out - rapid testing may not be perfect, but using it plus other safety measures in a sport literally built for outdoor social distancing should be a no-brainer. They have a monopoly on sports right now if they can get this right.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't get how baseball can't figure this out - rapid testing may not be perfect, but using it plus other safety measures in a sport literally built for outdoor social distancing should be a no-brainer. They have a monopoly on sports right now if they can get this right.
Korea and Taiwan have already figured it out and are playing games. At least from an on-field execution standpoint, the blueprint is already there. Granted, those are smaller geographic areas than MLB is dealing with, and they did a far better job in those countries containing the virus, but if they can make it work, there's no reason MLB can't make it work too.
 

HighHeat

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Meanwhile, Bryce Harper comes out and says, “good for Blake - he’s absolutely right,” and Mark Teixeira is saying that they speak for a majority of the players in MLB.

I was out of work for six days, and I offered to come back and do whatever I could to keep the business moving at whatever limited capacity we could. We’re short staffed, revenues are down and I’m working harder than I did before, for roughly 60% of what I used to earn. As unemployment figures continue to climb to levels we haven’t seen in this nation in over 80 years, I’m just happy to be employed and doing my part to keep the economy creeping forward. I have faith that this too shall pass, and that my efforts now will be rewarded in the future.

So in short, fuck all of these guys that share Blake Snell’s sentiments. You get paid exceptionally well to play a fucking game, and the fans that make it possible for you earn that kind of money are all suffering right now, mentally, physically and financially. No one wants to hear you bitch about potentially getting paid $3.5M instead of $7M.

These assholes are just completely divorced from reality. I’m in no hurry to spend any of my disposable income supporting this product, even when it is considered “safe” to return to the ballpark.
 

Fishercat

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Because baseball is not a direct revenue sharing sport, the players don't get raises when giant new TV contracts are signed, and this season is not occurring in a vacuum from previous and future seasons, despite the very unique circumstances. The owners have seen the value of their teams go up by hundreds of millions or even billions in the last decade, sometimes that means taking a short-term loss.
I'd also add on that no matter the number of fans in the stands, Blake Snell's arm after 110 pitches will be hurt just as bad as it would be in any other scenario. His work may be 70% less valuable to the team than it would have been with fans in the stands, but it doesn't reduce the workload on his body by that same 70% nor can they just reduce his hours by 70%. I don't think many people would accept their job, where they signed a guaranteed contract, paying them not only for fewer "hours" (pro-rated salary) than expected but then chopping the salaries in those hours.

Really, if my employer signed me to an annual salary of 52k a year, then said well don't work January to June and we'll pay you 26k a year, and then said take a hit on that 26k? I'd probably go look for a different job or just refuse. Snell is not unreasonable in this spot, at least in my view. If contracts were directly tied to revenue sure maybe, but they're not and a man less than a year off elbow surgery making a fraction of a fraction doesn't have to lay down for it.

Edit: To address the point above: once there are more people like you who can do what Blake Snell does, have at it. He has a unique skillset and a signed contract and he's being asked to make a fairly substantial financial sacrifice in a career where timeframes are uncertain and limited that is just as much a risk to his body and no less work.
 
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Leftsox13

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Trevor Bauer explained it in a different way, as he often does. Say you are a painter and you sign a contract for $100k for a year to paint an apartment building. Then the building catches fire and burns half the apartments down. So you renegotiate with the owner for $50k for the year. After a few months the owner comes back and says he can't rent the apartments and you need to cut your pay. It has nothing to do with the amount of work or the quality of your work, he just can't rent the apartments. What would you say to that?
On another note the owners want the players to agree to 50-50 split. Why don't they share with each other. Teams like the Sox, Jankees and Dodgers get huge local TV money that teams like Cleveland and Tampa don't. If they split those then fewer teams would be close to failing.
 

djbayko

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Trevor Bauer explained it in a different way, as he often does. Say you are a painter and you sign a contract for $100k for a year to paint an apartment building. Then the building catches fire and burns half the apartments down. So you renegotiate with the owner for $50k for the year. After a few months the owner comes back and says he can't rent the apartments and you need to cut your pay. It has nothing to do with the amount of work or the quality of your work, he just can't rent the apartments. What would you say to that?
On another note the owners want the players to agree to 50-50 split. Why don't they share with each other. Teams like the Sox, Jankees and Dodgers get huge local TV money that teams like Cleveland and Tampa don't. If they split those then fewer teams would be close to failing.
This analogy isn't complete though. In this case, the $50k agreement also had a clause which said that the financials would be revisited by both parties in the event that the owner couldn't rent the apartments (fans couldn't attend games).
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I'd also add on that no matter the number of fans in the stands, Blake Snell's arm after 110 pitches will be hurt just as bad as it would be in any other scenario.
Except that he's going to do that 12-15 times in 2020 versus the 23-31 he has in the past 3 seasons.
 

Hendu for Kutch

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Meanwhile, Bryce Harper comes out and says, “good for Blake - he’s absolutely right,” and Mark Teixeira is saying that they speak for a majority of the players in MLB.

I was out of work for six days, and I offered to come back and do whatever I could to keep the business moving at whatever limited capacity we could. We’re short staffed, revenues are down and I’m working harder than I did before, for roughly 60% of what I used to earn. As unemployment figures continue to climb to levels we haven’t seen in this nation in over 80 years, I’m just happy to be employed and doing my part to keep the economy creeping forward. I have faith that this too shall pass, and that my efforts now will be rewarded in the future.

So in short, fuck all of these guys that share Blake Snell’s sentiments. You get paid exceptionally well to play a fucking game, and the fans that make it possible for you earn that kind of money are all suffering right now, mentally, physically and financially. No one wants to hear you bitch about potentially getting paid $3.5M instead of $7M.

These assholes are just completely divorced from reality. I’m in no hurry to spend any of my disposable income supporting this product, even when it is considered “safe” to return to the ballpark.
Honest question - I'm guessing you work for a relatively small business or something that's a threat to go under if things stay bad?

Would you feel the same if you worked for Walmart or Goldman Sachs? Or if your boss was Jeff Bezos? Would you be so eager to sacrifice for them?

I'm not saying Snell is right or that they should expect full salaries, but it's naive to think the owners aren't trying to use your exact sentiment against them.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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I sincerely hope that the owners and the PA realize that if they can't find common ground and end up shitcanning the 2020 season, and then the NFL comes back and is able to safely resume play, the sport of baseball will suffer immeasurable losses and will never be the same. It is one thing if health reasons dictate a shutdown, but they cannot allow money to be the reason that no games are played this year.
We survived a cancelled World Series about 25 years ago. The losses were measurable; perhaps the sport was never the same, but the game survived.
 

HighHeat

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Honest question - I'm guessing you work for a relatively small business or something that's a threat to go under if things stay bad?

Would you feel the same if you worked for Walmart or Goldman Sachs? Or if your boss was Jeff Bezos? Would you be so eager to sacrifice for them?

I'm not saying Snell is right or that they should expect full salaries, but it's naive to think the owners aren't trying to use your exact sentiment against them.
I work for a car dealership that is part of a much larger nationwide auto network. The company financials are strong and I feel very positive about the long term outlook. That said, sales and revenue are nowhere near where they would be at this time of year, and it’s reasonable that we are not being compensated commensurate with the level of work we are putting in.

Management is on a temporary pay plan which pays us a flat rate significantly less than what we could typically expect to earn under normal circumstances.

I’m not happy about it but I feel as though I’m making a necessary concession and sacrifice that will allow us to continue doing business and get us back to the “new normal” as soon as possible.
 

staz

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yeah, I’ve been thinking about that too. I didn’t get it at first. But it makes some sense to me — If I am parsing his admittedly confusing statement correctly.

I think what he’s saying is that he’s willing to risk getting coronavirus, and potentially cutting his career short or never being the same athlete again because of reduced lung capacity or anything else, but only because the contract that he signed reflected that. There’s always a risk of needing Tommy John surgery, or having a career ending injury. But he’s not willing to risk his entire career worth of earnings just to come back for a half season at a much reduced amount.

But, again, the guy is hardly Mark Twain — I could be misreading his word salad.
As someone who received a cortisone shot in his pitching elbow in March, all of Snell's posturing seems a bit disingenuous. Getting an extra 12 months to rest your moneymaker in the name of Corona concerns - how convenient!
 

JimD

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We survived a cancelled World Series about 25 years ago. The losses were measurable; perhaps the sport was never the same, but the game survived.
MLB is in a weaker position now than it was 26 years ago, as it has continued to lose fans to football and other sports. The game of baseball will survive Covid-19, but I believe it would be a shadow of its former self (and would likely command far lower broadcast dollars and interest) if the 2020 season is cancelled over finances while other sports find away to play.
 

donutogre

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I'd also add on that no matter the number of fans in the stands, Blake Snell's arm after 110 pitches will be hurt just as bad as it would be in any other scenario. His work may be 70% less valuable to the team than it would have been with fans in the stands, but it doesn't reduce the workload on his body by that same 70% nor can they just reduce his hours by 70%. I don't think many people would accept their job, where they signed a guaranteed contract, paying them not only for fewer "hours" (pro-rated salary) than expected but then chopping the salaries in those hours.

Really, if my employer signed me to an annual salary of 52k a year, then said well don't work January to June and we'll pay you 26k a year, and then said take a hit on that 26k? I'd probably go look for a different job or just refuse. Snell is not unreasonable in this spot, at least in my view. If contracts were directly tied to revenue sure maybe, but they're not and a man less than a year off elbow surgery making a fraction of a fraction doesn't have to lay down for it.

Edit: To address the point above: once there are more people like you who can do what Blake Snell does, have at it. He has a unique skillset and a signed contract and he's being asked to make a fairly substantial financial sacrifice in a career where timeframes are uncertain and limited that is just as much a risk to his body and no less work.
I had been thinking about writing basically all of this, but you did a much better job than I would have. I get why reducing salaries by XX% (let's say 50% if they play half a season) makes sense, but asking the players to take a further hit when they still effectively are doing their jobs at the highest level seems like a bit much. Whether or not fans are in the stands, the players still will be playing the games.
 

Andrew

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Just had to listen to my mother cry about her 12 year old patient and her sister dealing with immunocompromised issues and being unable to be safe with their own families because testing kits aren't available until someone shows specific symptoms because of shortage.

If MLB comes back and has all their on field personnel tested every day I am never watching another MLB game again. The owners need to deal with losing some money and the players need to grow the fuck up.
 

pk1627

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Boo hoo for the billionaires. Honor your guarantees. If you decide you can’t afford it, cancel the season. Frankly, we’ll survive. (Which is what they really should be worried about).
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Boo hoo for the billionaires. Honor your guarantees. If you decide you can’t afford it, cancel the season. Frankly, we’ll survive. (Which is what they really should be worried about).
But bravo for the millionaires who refuse to provide a little ray of sunshine into our currently dreary lives unless they get every penny of the vast salaries they would have otherwise been entitled to earn absent a biological and economic catastrophe?

Yeah, we'll survive. Will baseball?
 

Ale Xander

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MLB players could earn some goodwill by saying they don't want to waste testing that would be better served going to regular people, I would think.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Just had to listen to my mother cry about her 12 year old patient and her sister dealing with immunocompromised issues and being unable to be safe with their own families because testing kits aren't available until someone shows specific symptoms because of shortage.

If MLB comes back and has all their on field personnel tested every day I am never watching another MLB game again. The owners need to deal with losing some money and the players need to grow the fuck up.
This is where I’m at. Why don’t more people care about the underlying gross inequities in funneling testing and PPE to the wealthy? Hospitals can’t get enough (which means we’re all potentially screwed, if we get sick), but MLB can get whatever they need to start playing again?

That is seriously fucked up. And everyone should realize it.
 

TSC

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Take the source for what it's worth - but it's not like Barstool doesn't have it's connections and hasn't broken quite a few stories recently.

View: https://twitter.com/marty_mush/status/1261771176545865728?s=20


@marty_mush



Breaking: from a trusted source baseball will start around July 4th. 50 man rosters played in Texas, Arizona, Florida. Players will be leaving in 3 weeks and will have to quarantine throughout.
 

patoaflac

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Just had to listen to my mother cry about her 12 year old patient and her sister dealing with immunocompromised issues and being unable to be safe with their own families because testing kits aren't available until someone shows specific symptoms because of shortage.

If MLB comes back and has all their on field personnel tested every day I am never watching another MLB game again. The owners need to deal with losing some money and the players need to grow the fuck up.
X2. Terrible attitude, of owners and players, when lot of people are suffering a health and/or economic crisis.
 

jon abbey

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This thread gives you an idea of the PR nightmare MLB and all sports are facing currently, people vowing to hate them forever if they come back and others who will never forgive them if they don't.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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We don’t have any hard data to suggest fans are angry or uncomfortable with the ideas of players having access to testing that they don’t, but I’d guess the majority are fine with that trade if it means the sport(s) is back.
 

BaseballJones

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Its obviously an individual's prerogative as to whether they want to expose themselves to the risk of getting coronavirus, but I found this part of his quotes interesting:

"Bro, I'm risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid."

So he's okay taking risking his life if he gets $7 million, but its unacceptable if he only gets $1.75 million or $3.5 million or whatever he'd get under the proposal?
Everyone has his price. If there was an activity you could participate in that would come with a 5% chance of you dying, you might not do it for, say, $100. But if you’d get $10 million for that same activity, you might do it.

The numbers (think: reward) might be different for everyone, as to how much of a risk they’re willing to take for that reward.
 

nattysez

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50-man rosters sounds crazy -- it's a logistical nightmare.

Is any baseball stadium built to support 50-man rosters? What are you going to do with the 15-20 guys who almost never play? How are you going to pay the major league minimum to all those guys (hint: you aren't)? Do you completely reconstruct the salary cap for this year to facilitate this? How do you keep your 20th relief pitcher ready to rock every night? How about your 8th starter?

I understand the necessity for an expanded roster -- you've got to have guys who are able to step in for a long period if a number of guys all get sick at once -- but 50 seems impossible.
 

jon abbey

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50-man rosters sounds crazy -- it's a logistical nightmare.

Is any baseball stadium built to support 50-man rosters? What are you going to do with the 15-20 guys who almost never play? How are you going to pay the major league minimum to all those guys (hint: you aren't)? Do you completely reconstruct the salary cap for this year to facilitate this? How do you keep your 20th relief pitcher ready to rock every night? How about your 8th starter?

I understand the necessity for an expanded roster -- you've got to have guys who are able to step in for a long period if a number of guys all get sick at once -- but 50 seems impossible.
Also how does it affect service time, team control, the 40 man roster, they have so much to figure out.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Is any baseball stadium built to support 50-man rosters? What are you going to do with the 15-20 guys who almost never play?

The dugouts will only be used for the necessary players who are playing in that game. All others will sit in auxiliary seating areas designated for inactive players and some coaches, likely in the ballpark seats. You won’t have the whole 25 or 50 man roster in the dugout or at the stadium.
 
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jon abbey

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I think the plan is 30 man active rosters for each game, so the other 20 would likely be somewhere else nearby but not at the stadium until activated. That also cuts the number of potential exposures if someone gets it.
 

scottyno

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50-man rosters sounds crazy -- it's a logistical nightmare.

Is any baseball stadium built to support 50-man rosters? What are you going to do with the 15-20 guys who almost never play? How are you going to pay the major league minimum to all those guys (hint: you aren't)? Do you completely reconstruct the salary cap for this year to facilitate this? How do you keep your 20th relief pitcher ready to rock every night? How about your 8th starter?

I understand the necessity for an expanded roster -- you've got to have guys who are able to step in for a long period if a number of guys all get sick at once -- but 50 seems impossible.
The 15-20 guys are probably playing scrimmages vs themselves as a pseudo minor league team in order to stay sharp when players get sick or injured.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Don't understand the 30 man roster thing if you have a Taxi Squad. With only 1 starting pitcher each game you can easily have 10 relievers and 15 position players available every day.

I wonder if the new "3 batter minimum" rule is out the window?
 

jon abbey

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Don't understand the 30 man roster thing if you have a Taxi Squad. With only 1 starting pitcher each game you can easily have 10 relievers and 15 position players available every day.
I think doubleheader days are part of this and in a non-Covid year, I believe teams would get 27 players on doubleheader days, the normal 26 man roster (don't forget it went up from 25 this season) plus an additional one. 30 maybe cuts down on shuttling guys between the two squads and cuts down on transmission risk some? Dunno.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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We don’t have any hard data to suggest fans are angry or uncomfortable with the ideas of players having access to testing that they don’t, but I’d guess the majority are fine with that trade if it means the sport(s) is back.
I think you’re right. Until it hits them or their family.

We’re pretty selfish and short-sighted that way.
 

Bernie Carbohydrate

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X2. Terrible attitude, of owners and players, when lot of people are suffering a health and/or economic crisis.
My wife works at a public hospital. Goes in every day, puts on PPE, and has direct contact with C19 patients.

Because of shortages, her hospital has to pick and choose who gets tested based on risk level. That's the deal for almost all the hospitals in our area.

All of those reopening plans -- MLB, NBA, even universities (my area) seem to assume that thousands of personnel will be able to get tested regularly, and/ or even when asymptomatic. I don't get this -- we're in mid-May, three months in, and testing is sporadic, inconsistent, and unavailable to most people.

If MLB gets to open up because they've secured 10k (maybe 100k?) testing kits while the rest of the country has to muddle through -- that's not just bad PR, that's immoral.
 

Gash Prex

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I understand the concerns - my thoughts are they would be using a rapid (but less reliable) testing mechanism which would not be approved in a hospital situation. Plus we are talking over 2 months from now where hopefully testing is significantly different than today. Maybe the rapid tests become more reliable but unless they use rapid tests I don’t see how this works.
 

JimD

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Test availability is improving in many areas - anyone in my area (Syracuse NY) can go right now and get tested immediately without having symptoms.
 

JCizzle

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I understand the concerns - my thoughts are they would be using a rapid (but less reliable) testing mechanism which would not be approved in a hospital situation. Plus we are talking over 2 months from now where hopefully testing is significantly different than today. Maybe the rapid tests become more reliable but unless they use rapid tests I don’t see how this works.
I'm guessing the leagues will work out a PR arrangement with the local communities where the players are tested, but they provide extra testing capacity free of charge to each local community or something like that.
 

staz

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This thread gives you an idea of the PR nightmare MLB and all sports are facing currently, people vowing to hate them forever if they come back and others who will never forgive them if they don't.
Which mirrors the HR, legal and PR nightmares all business owners are facing. On many levels, MLB is no different than your local non-essential retail shop. And since local business are certainly not able to blindly test returning employees right now (even once), there's that element of risk - one that MLB/PA are trying to mitigate by seeking perpetual testing.

Would MLB/PA agree to no asymptomatic testing and wear masks/6-ft distancing when not on the field? Because that's essentially the work environment workers everywhere else will reentering. Would MLB/PA agree to a single test at the start of ST2 and the regular season only? And would that be acceptable to front line health care workers who have to be symptomatic to be tested? And what if testing becomes more accessible as the summer move along?

Due to the fluid nature and vast geographic diversity of testing availability and infection rate, it's literally impossible to write a policy that will be universally accepted as fair. So the goal should be to seek a testing equilibrium that approximates what our general society can bear (at a given point in time) while managing risk - and it should be understood by all parties (including fans) that it's not going to please all of the people all of the time. And then continually adjust it as events warrant.
 

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GlucoDoc

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Dec 19, 2005
33
Safe distances are impossible. What about the home plate umpire, catcher, and batter? Are they 6 feet apart? Or will they wear masks as they play, and hope they don't get knocked off. A close play at 1st base or home plate? I am skeptical. The only way is to treat the teams as one big happy family quarantined together. Isolated from the rest of the world. All of baseball as opposing team members have to be close to one another (example above). Include families or not, but once they are tested and are in, they can leave the fold but not come back. And frequent testing, of course. But what happens when one person tests positive, which is very possible?

That being said, one might consider that baseball is, if not essential like health workers, on the next tier, helping preserve the mental well-being of millions of people who will likely be quarantined for the summer. But in my opinion, masks and 6 feet distancing won't do it.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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Jul 30, 2001
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Jan 23, 2009
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The distancing and mask usage are exactly what's being proposed.


Everything looks reasonable for keeping safe during games, but I don't see how it's not all undone as soon as the team steps on a plane together.
What is likely the bare bones contingent needed for a team when it travels? 50 people? 60? Figure 30 players, a dozen coaches, various trainers and support staff. If the team plan is just those people (no press, no families, no entourage of team execs), they should be able to spread out enough to distance properly. Maybe they have to wear masks as well just to be extra safe. There aren't going to be any cross-continent flights with the limited schedule...2-3 hour max flights could be managed.