No one has a crystal ball.
Major League Baseball owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed to an emergency collective bargaining agreement which laid out 2020 operating rules. The deal could allow the players back on the field. No one knows when Major League Baseball will open up the 2020 season just as no one really knows if there will be a finish to the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League regular seasons and the playoffs. No one knows when Major League Soccer will resume or when the next golf tournament or tennis tournament will take place. Golf’s Masters and PGA Tournaments have been postponed. The Kentucky Derby will be running later this year instead of the annual May date. There is no Summer Olympics. There seems to be a flicker of hope getting beyond the coronavirus pandemic in South Korea as the county’s baseball league is slated to open on April 20. Japan’s baseball league officials want to open on April 24. But a number of players have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The MLB agreement does provide a road map that can determine when games can be played. Non baseball people will make the decision, not the Commissioner Rob Manfred, not owners and not players. The two sides will listen to scientific researchers and experts. There are three areas of concern, social spacing, travel and health. Number 1, there are no bans on mass gatherings that would limit the ability to play in front of fans. The commissioner could still consider the “use of appropriate substitute neutral sites where economically feasible”. Number 2, there are no travel restrictions throughout the United States and Canada. The third, medical experts determine that there would be no health risks for players, staff or fans, with the commissioner and union still able to revisit the idea of playing in empty stadiums. It’s a start.