Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on a Snapchat interview today and said that if Major League Baseball is going to return it’ll have to be via the idea floated last week that involved a fan-free, Arizona-only, quarantined players scenario:
“There’s a way of doing that . . . Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled . . . Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”
I’m sure they’ll love the idea of being “very well surveilled.” And given how much of a testing shortage we have right now, I’m curious to know how we’re supposed to find the testing capacity to test over 1,000 players and scores of team employees who have to come into contact with them each week for something like 16 weeks or more.
It’s also worth noting that as soon as that idea was floated last week there was immediate backlash, causing Major League Baseball to issue a statement that it had not endorsed the plan or any other specific plan itself. Since then a number of other scenarios have been floated.
The backlash came from players as well as outside critics.
Less than two hours ago, on NBC Sports’ Lunch Talk Live, Mike Trout talked about the idea. He said, “there’s a lot of red flags . . . we want to get back as soon as we can, but obviously it’s got to be realistic. It can’t be sitting in our hotel rooms, just going from the field to the hotel room and not being able to do anything. I think that’s pretty crazy.”
“I will say that situation, I just don’t see that happening. I’m not going to be away from my family and not seem them for four and a half months. I just talked about how much Cooper changes over one week, so to miss four months of his life right now, I’m just not going to do it.
“And there’s a lot of other things that are just wrong with that proposal. But it’s not to say we can’t go somewhere with it. There’s just a lot of things they’re going to have to figure out before I go quarantine myself with my team for four months.”
He would not be alone in that sentiment. A lot of players — let alone managers, coaches, team staff members, and the hundreds if not thousands of people who would be have to support the playing of games and/or the housing of players — would feel the same way.
These are not robot gladiators. They’re people. You, me, and everyone else is going a little nuts right now and it’s (a) been a month; and (b) we get to be with our families and we aren’t “very well surveilled” or what have you. You expect baseball players to undergo this for four months or more just so we can have some baseball? It’s not going to happen.
All of which is to say, if there is not a viable method of playing that does not require this level of quarantine and lockdown, we’re not going to have a baseball season.