While none of us know what to expect in the coming weeks or months ahead, the situation regarding the current coronavirus pandemic has worsened lately. As of 3 PM (EST) on Tuesday, COVID-19 continues its spread all over the world, as there are now over 800,000 cases worldwide and 40,000 deaths.
Late last week, MLB and the player’s union successfully collaborated on several pressing issues in the event that there’s no baseball in 2020, most importantly ensuring that the players will be paid at least through the next two months, regardless of whether there is a season or not. Also, reported on Tuesday, MLB plans to extend its financial support to minor league players through May — a nice bump up from their original deadline of April 8. Each minor leaguer will receive $400 per week as well as their health benefits through May 31.
And while all of these plans are nice to see, considering the bad blood we’re so used to seeing between the players and league; there’s still a long way to go before baseball can realistically return. Consider the three main conditions that must be met, as part of an agreement obtained by ESPN’s Jeff Passan a few days ago:
- There are no bans on mass gatherings that would limit the ability to play in front of fans. However, the commissioner could still consider the “use of appropriate substitute neutral sites where economically feasible”;
- There are no travel restrictions throughout the United States and Canada;
- Medical experts determine that there would be no health risks for players, staff or fans, with the commissioners and union still able to revisit the idea of playing in empty stadiums.
As of right now, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, baseball’s return date is still set for mid-May, though his optimism seems a little farfetched, in my opinion, which brings us to you guys. Here at SportsTalkATL, we want to hear what our readers think, which is why we have constructed several polls dedicated to your responses. Each poll will stay open until midnight Friday (April 3), where we will then share the results this coming weekend. If answers come flooding in for these first batch of polls, we may add more to the mix.
Thanks for voting!