Fitting the President's Optimistic Timeline Into a Quarantined Baseball Plan and Other Cubs Bullets

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Fitting the President’s Optimistic Timeline Into a Quarantined Baseball Plan and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I wanted to mix some natural cocoa powder into my coffee yesterday, and I learned a lesson: turns out, real cocoa powder will absolutely not mix into a liquid. It clumps. Doesn’t matter how aggressively you stir. It ain’t happening. Stays clumped. So I did some googling, and it turns out you have to mix the liquid *into* the cocoa powder, not the other way around. I’m sure the chemists among us can explain why the heck the directionality matters there, but it’s true – did it this morning, mixing just a tiny bit of milk into the cocoa powder to create a paste, and then the paste mixes into the coffee just fine. Science!

  • Once we got word of what President Trump said to the various professional sports commissioners yesterday, I started thinking specifically about the implications for baseball, if any. Again, I’ll reiterate that the President has a number of incentives to be optimistic about when “normal” activities can return, though it does seem that his administration has taken a slightly more realistic tone over the past week. So, if he’s saying his hope is that pro sports can resume *with crowds* in August, that’s probably what people have told him is the most optimistic possibility in the range of plausible outcomes.
  • (Could we have the outbreak contained in most regions by, say, mid-May? Yes. Every model suggests that is possible. Could we then do enough as a nation to prevent new outbreaks from mid-May until, say, late-June, allowing for treatment of the sick and less spreadable access for the virus? Yes. Could there be a dramatic uptick in the production and availability of rapid COVID-19 testing and antibody tests by, say, late-July? That’s the one I cannot tell you I have a good sense on from what information is out there. But I can say that it’s going to be an absolute prerequisite if you’re going to have crowds together at sporting events. So, the optimistic timeline does square … if you are really optimistic about testing/tracing/etc. being in place in about four months.)
  • For baseball, does all of this work? Well, hypothetically, if you’re already in a situation where you cannot have fans at games until August at the absolute earliest, maybe it does become more attractive to stage games in June or July at Spring Training facilities to keep players quarantined and also keep down costs (which is also a time when you would plausibly be past outbreaks, and would be into a better time for wider, rapid testing – indeed, prophylactic testing MIGHT be possible by then for sports). That plan is already being discussed by MLB, as Ken Rosenthal has reported, and we wrote about yesterday. Then, when/if fans are cleared on the timeline the President is hoping, you shift the games back to home stadiums. So, again, things are tracking so far, if you are an optimist.
  • HOWEVER, if you do the early season quarantine thing at just one centralized place – like Phoenix – there are some big logistical hurdles. For one, there are just 10 Spring Training stadiums to work with out there, which means three games per stadium per day if you want every team playing on a given day. Maybe you could figure out a way to include Chase Field, and/or other local baseball facilities (if they can be broadcast well enough?), which would allow for some off-days for teams … and would allow you to not have to play games at the hottest time of day. It can be well over 100 degrees in the summer in Phoenix, which could make playing games in the afternoon or early evening unsafe. Thus, you’re talking about games in the morning and/or late at night, which might not be ideal broadcast windows (which is the whole point of making this financially feasible in the first place).
  • I’m not saying this kind of plan cannot work. But it’s worth pointing out that there are logistical issues that go beyond even the more important ones tied to keeping everyone safe from COVID-19.
  • OK. A baseball moment. Such a brutally bad 0-2 pitch:

  • Ballplayer families doing good:

  • Fun read on an ugly game:

  • Well this is just very nice. Well done, Reds:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.