Latest News & Notes On Coronavirus & Baseball

By Jeff Todd | at

We’re all pining for the return of baseball. It’d be nice to watch, especially in these trying times. More than anything, though, the start of play would mean that we’ve achieved some amount of control over the spread of the coronavirus — and, perhaps, that there’d be an end in sight to the suffering it has wrought. In the meantime, we join all those around the world in honoring the brave health care professionals, first responders, logistical employees, and others who are doing everything they can to sustain us.

  • The unfolding tragedy is particularly acute in New York, the present American epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Baseball is an afterthought. Any hope of playing it will depend upon addressing the broader public health need, as Yankees reliever Zack Britton acknowledges (via MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, on Twitter). “At the end of the day,” he says of talk regarding the scheduling of the 2020 season, “it doesn’t matter until the virus gets under control and cities and people are able just to go back to everyday life, let alone being able to go and watch baseball or us play baseball.” Getting to a point where the spread is manageable seems an obvious prerequisite for sports, even if played without fans. But the league and union are rightly thinking ahead and trying to plan to move back online as soon as possible. Britton says the sides have already begun considering potential neutral sites to stage games, potentially providing alternative venues that could be utilized as needed. The unnamed locations would have the sorts of playing, lodging, and other facilities required to make play possible.
  • We’ve seen many MLB players pitch in financially and otherwise. They’re also quite understandably thinking of the needs of their families. Veteran Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has headed back to his native Japan with his wife and child while waiting for baseball to resume, Brendan Kuty of reports. Tanaka says he felt in “danger” in Florida, where the virus is a growing threat. He also chose against returning to the home he maintains in New York. (There is at least a touch of baseball-specific news on the Yankees’ pitching staff, as we covered here yesterday.)
  • Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has revealed that one employee of the team has tested positive for COVID-19, as Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets. The unnamed employee was not on hand at the club’s spring facility during camp; rather, he or she was stationed in St. Louis. MLBTR extends its best wishes for a quick and full recovery. Fortunately, that seems to be just what occurred for legendary former Cardinals and Angels outfielder Jim Edmonds. As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes, Edmonds ended up in the hospital for pneumonia and ultimately tested positive for COVID-19. But he’s thankfully already on the mend.
  • It’s always worth highlighting the good acts that take place in times of crisis. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, the Rays have initiated some assistance to local charity Feeding Tampa Bay, promising $100K and another $150K in matching funds to help spur a food drive. The Feeding Tampa Bay executive director calls it a “tremendous gift.” Meanwhile Rockies first baseman Daniel Murphy is the latest veteran player to make a sizable financial commitment. He’s giving $100K to a “family assistance fund” to assist minor-leaguers who support children or other family members. More on that initiative here.

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