While there’s still no concrete direction for baseball in the United States, the idea that the game is gaining steam in other parts of the world deems promising for many fans on American soil.
According to Jeff Todd at MLBTR, Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League is preparing to welcome fans into the league’s stadiums.
Todd noted that the CPBL became the first professional baseball league to resume activities since the COVID-19 pandemic halted play around across the globe. He explained that the league remains a clear success story, with no indication that play has interfered with efforts to protect the health and welfare of participants or the broader public.
As far as the specifics go, up to 1000 fans will be permitted entry to each CPBL game beginning on May 8.
CPBL management has stated that the league will indeed comply with recommendations by the Center for Disease Control with regards to fan attendance. Those recommendations include all ticket holders needing to provide their real name, fans practicing social distancing at games, fans being required to wear masks at games, and the league having temperature screening devices at the gates of the stadiums.
Consequently, the Korean Baseball Organization has resumed play. While we reported last week that ESPN and the KBO were close to a deal involving broadcast rights, that deal has indeed been completed. ESPN began airing games during the overnight on Monday, the same day the league re-opened.
The plan is for the network to air six KBO games per week, with most of them being broadcast on ESPN2.
A full primer outlining many highlights of Korean baseball can be found on the ESPN website.
As these activities around the globe do not necessarily dictate that the MLB will follow suit, it does provide at least a little support that fans in America could conceivably see some baseball this year after all.
One important thing to remember, as Todd indicates, is that Taiwan and South Korea’s success surrounding baseball’s recommencement has come after nearly “stomping out” the coronavirus completely. Seemingly, there’s still a long way to go to seeing such progress in the States.
In other news, super-agent Scott Boras published a somewhat politically flavored op-ed in the New York Times on Monday, recommending that the MLB “return the players to spring training-style camps as soon as possible.” The idea would be for MLB to take steps now to lead into a season that would provide fans with a “sense of hope and normalcy.”