Just like we said in Sunday’s column, “outlooks on the COVID-19 pandemic sometimes change daily, causing bursts of optimism one day and spurts of pessimism the next.”
Monday was one of those days when we saw a positive dose of optimism.
In the biggest news of the day, several governors of the country’s largest states showed willingness to host professional sports within their municipalities, suggesting that the start of a prospective MLB season during July 4 weekend might be a reality after all.
California Governor Gavin Newsom was among that group.
Initially, many folks believed that the state’s indefinite extension of the current stay-at-home order may conceivably deter any type of realistic timeline for a baseball season. However, Newsom’s words on Monday revealed support for professional sports seasons to happen, so long as the competitions do not involve any risks with regard to the public health situation brought on by the pandemic.
“Pro sports, in that first week or so of June, without spectators, and with modifications and very prescriptive conditions, also can begin to move forward,” Newsom said on Monday. “A number of other sectors of our economy will open up, if we hold these trend lines the next number of weeks.”
This is huge for the State of California, which boasts five teams that compete in Major League Baseball—the Dodgers. Giants, Padres, Angels and Athletics.
Newsom’s announcement also provided optimism that the five California teams may even be able to use their home ballparks for a training camp type of period beginning sometime in the month of June.
Obviously, as alluded to by the governor, the season would begin without spectators in the stands, but any kind of MLB action at this point would certainly be welcomed by fans of baseball far and wide.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has perhaps been the most publicized state leader throughout the entire pandemic, echoed Newsom’s sentiments in his own Monday press conference.
“I think this is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “And then they’ll be up and running and when we can fill a stadium again.”
Also showing support for the return of professional sports was Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.
“Every decision that I have made is unanimously supported by our team of medical experts,” Abbott said.
All three governors reiterated that despite their respective moves to reopen their states, practicing social distancing, wearing masks and limiting contact with others is still critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Regardless, these precautionary measures should not prevent the game of baseball from finally starting its 2020 regular season, even if it means that the early games would be viewed on television only.
Nevertheless, also like we said in Sunday’s column, “while all these precise plans seem fine and dandy in theory, the biggest problem standing in the way of a season actually happening might be the fact that the league and the players are still far away from agreeing on one thing that has fueled disagreements between the two sides for decades—money.”
That’s a whole other story for another time.