It was just this past week that MLB Opening Day was supposed to take place. That obviously did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic plaguing the United States and the rest of the world.
Once MLB announced that it would suspend the start of the 2020 season, hopes were that it would be able to start in June. That’s now given in to a new reality as the virus spreads across the United States. Both MLB and the players’ union have done their part to prepare for the changing dynamics once the 2020 season does start.
Now, according to this report from Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the season will likely start without fans in attendance as a way to make sure as many games can be played as possible. It could start within the matter of weeks.
” By a matter of weeks, we will be able to play games without crowds (before we can play games) with them.” an unnamed team official said Tuesday, “I think the only way we play, at least initially, is without fans.”
There’s been growing skepticism that a 2020 season will be able to take place at all. The COVID-19 pandemic will likely peak at some point in mid April. President Trump ordered further social distancing through the end of April. That’s no small thing.
Given that there are shelter-in-place orders in dozens of states across the country, it’s hard to believe that any of the major professional sports will be able to continue here soon. The unnamed executive pointing to a matter of weeks seems to be optimistic, at best.
Major League Baseball itself has suspended operations until at least mid-May under the guise of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommending against large gatherings.
With that said, playing in empty stadiums in regions of the United States that have not been hit hard by COVID-19 could make sense. It would likely enable to season to start earlier than most anticipated.
Pure conjecture here, but social distancing and the closing of non-essential businesses in the Las Vegas area has helped the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in that region. Could Vegas be a logical option? It’s something the NBA is thinking about right now, too.