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Still many hurdles to clear before MLB can return

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There’s baseball in Taiwan and Korea. But not the U.S., yet.

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Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

While it’s great to have actual live baseball to watch — albeit in the wee hours — it’s important to recognize the steps that were completed before the KBO started its season.

After a peak of over 900 new coronavirus cases per day in February, South Korea through aggressive testing and disciplined quarantining saw its new cases dip below 50 every day for nearly the last month. The KBO isn’t playing to inspire the country to beat the pandemic. South Korea dealt with the coronavirus first, and baseball came after significant progress was made.

Here in the United States, where the CDC reported 19,138 new cases on Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell said in a radio interview last week, “The sooner we can get at least some of our sports — and I think the one eligible to begin first, would be baseball — it would be a great morale-booster for the country and an indication that we are going to begin to get back to normal.”

This is baseball first, then deal with the coronavirus later.

Scott Boras similarly wrote an op-ed in the New York Times imploring baseball to return:

Professional baseball is being played today in Taiwan and South Korea, and players have reported that they feel safe and protected in their environment. We can do it here, and for the sake of America, we should.

South Korea has 209 reported coronavirus cases per million people, and they have baseball. The U.S. is at 3,623 cases per million.

That’s the back drop to remember all the recent reports about MLB and the players discussing various options to return, whether in spring training sites or perhaps even home sites. But it’s important to remember that we are still in the discussion phase, and that the players have to agree to whatever plan gets deployed.

“Despite all that has been floated and all the rhetoric that is out there, we have not received anything formal that details an actual plan,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told Marly Rivera of ESPN on Monday. “Until we see and receive an actual proposal with a plan or plans — because my guess is there’s going to need to be flexibility in whatever is going to be considered — it’s all assumptions. It lends itself to the uncertainty because there’s a lot of ideations, but not any substance behind them just yet.”

There are still many hurdles before we see MLB restart. Just remember that.

Links

Sam Miller at ESPN ranked every single World Series. The Dodgers placed two in the top 10, though both were seven-game losses to the Yankees from the Brooklyn days — 1952 was ranked seventh, and 1947 was ninth.

Joc Pederson was one of a group of Nike athletes to donate shoes and gear for healthcare workers.

Justin and Kourtney Turner donated Tuesday to help fight cancer, specifically children battling brain tumors.

The MLB Players Trust on Tuesday donated $100,000 to Donors Choose, to support teachers and students affected by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic.