But to have baseball back by May or June?That’s rushing. Admittedly, Passan’s report outlined a scenario where fans would be excluded from stadiums for a while yet. “The plan, sources said, would dictate that all 30 teams play games at stadiums with no fans in the greater Phoenix area, including the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field, 10 spring training facilities, and perhaps other nearby fields,” Passan wrote. “Players, coaching staffs, and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation and travel only to and from the stadium, sources said.” Other ideas that were discussed and conveyed to Passan included extensive testing of players, “implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter,” “no mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach,” and “seven-inning doubleheaders, which with an earlier-than-expected start date could allow baseball to come closer to a full 162-game season.”
Logistically, this is all more than a bit absurd. Such a plan would mean players would be asked to isolate from their families for “perhaps as long as four and a half months,” or else risk a spouse or child passing COVID-19 on to them. As Susan Slusser, The San Francisco Chronicle’s Oakland Athletics beat writer, additionally observed on Twitter, “Baseball is among the least sanitary sports — rampant spitting (tobacco, seeds), pitchers who lick their fingers before handling the ball, etc. How does this get addressed during a pandemic, even with quarantined players?” And that’s not even to mention the insanity of playing doubleheaders into the late spring and early summer in Arizona, where temperatures are regularly in the triple digits.