Major League Baseball longs for the days (as do the rest of us) when its biggest problem was a cheating scandal that just wouldn’t go away. Baseball was caught flat-footed with the coronavirus pandemic during spring training, with its Opening Day just a couple of weeks away.
Baseball has a new plan for proceeding with Opening Day and all days after that. According to Ken Rosenthal of TheAthletic.com, MLB is considering starting the season at spring training locations in Florida or Arizona. Those locations have multiple parks in close proximity, and games would be played there without fans.
But, as Rosenthal notes, the powers-that-be realize that the notion of putting 30 baseball teams in one of those places and essentially quarantining them “would be extremely complex and potentially controversial.” But at least baseball is thinking and talking and working through the scenarios.
The NBA and the Premier League are considering similar approaches to finishing seasons that were interrupted by the pandemic. And, as we’ve explained, the NFL should at least consider this kind of approach as the worst-case plan for salvaging the 2020 season. Even if it ultimately wouldn’t work, the NFL needs to explore the possibility and all others thoroughly, the same way other leagues are doing.
And the NFL has something that baseball, basketball, and soccer don’t: The benefit of time. As other sports try to change a tire on a moving car, the NFL has weeks at its disposal to think creatively, to brainstorm, to ponder, to discuss, and to explore.
Here’s hoping that someone is doing that. Not after the draft has concluded, but right now.