Although nothing has been decided, and MLB is currently staying the course of merely monitoring the progress of the coronavirus outbreak and the guidance of local health officials, it has become realistic to consider alternative arrangements to the planned open of the regular season in just over two weeks.
To that end, the AP reports tonight that *IF* changes to the schedule are required because some locations are not going to permit large crowds gathering for sporting events, MLB’s preference is to flip the location of home games (play at the visiting team’s home instead) rather than some of the more aggressive options, like delaying the start of the season, cancelling games, or playing games in front of no crowds.
All things considered, this would be the best option if it could be done safely and easily.
Though it would make sense to simply flip series where it’s easily possible, it’s not hard to imagine all kinds of logistical issues arising very quickly, from the changes in travel to the staffing needs to the revenue considerations to the possibility that, in some series, no home parks will be available.
I expect that the league is hoping that if measures are necessary at all come March 26, it will be only for a few locations, and flipping early-season series won’t be a substantial burden. But if major planning is going to be necessary to adjust schedules in a more comprehensive way around the league, I expect MLB is going to have to get on that very soon. Plans have to be in place for so many reasons, even as I’m sure MLB would probably like to be able to wait as long as possible.
On the whole, I just hope everyone is safe. I still feel very much in the dark about what we as a nation are actually facing here – maybe something horrible! maybe a total overreaction! – and I hope the experts continue to lead, and sports leagues (among the rest of us) continue to follow as instructed.
We’ll just keep following along for now.