I don’t know if it was just my circle of online and real life people, but “Mask Discourse” exploded yesterday all around me – when to wear them, whether it helps, whether it should be required, etc. I’m no expert, but I’ve read what’s available from those who are, so I offer this distillation of the information available (it ultimately all impacts the sports timeline and execution, so it’s on topic!).
Based on everything out there, it seems like the consensus medical opinion is that cloth/homemade masks (i.e., the kinds you can get (save the N-95 ones for first responders, please!)) do help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but mostly in one direction: from the wearer to everyone else. The mask likely isn’t going to do anything for you; it’s just going to help prevent you from being a source if you happen to be infected and don’t realize it. Masks are generally not required outdoors because the risk of transmission is much lower, especially when you’re spaced out. (I am guessing that’s why baseball players in Asia stopped wearing them.)
Basically, the medical advice is that you should still keep distance from people right now, because masks are not perfect protection (and indeed, that’s the big risk with mandating masks: people will incorrectly assume that wearing a mask protects them, and then they get right up on each other). But if you have to go into an enclosed space where you might have to be close to people, then you should wear a mask to significantly reduce the risk that you, yourself, are out there sending out the virus to other people. If you can’t do that, then at least, for the love of God, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands way more often than you usually do.
• Yesterday’s big news – such as we get “news” these days – was the league is readying a proposal to submit to the Players Association very soon, and Jeff Passan further filled out his reporting last night:
Teams are telling players to get ready and get in shape. MLB is expected to send a return-to-play proposal to the union soon. The gears for baseball's return are starting to turn — but significant hurdles remain for it to become a reality. News at ESPN: https://t.co/fHiasxlS1A— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 7, 2020
• The New York Post’s Joel Sherman also dug in with more details here. In short, both reports offer the same perspective: MLB knows that starting Spring Training Part Two and the regular season on July 1 is a best-case-scenario situation, and might have only a small chance of actually being pulled off. But because it *is* the best case, then MLB needs to get its players on board with the idea and timeline as soon as possible so they can start getting ready in case it does actually work out. Moreover, the sides are going to need time to negotiate myriad issues, from safety to testing to travel to locations to back-up plans to, of course, finances. You’ve gotta start that process ASAP if you’re actually going to get something signed off on in time for players to start working out at team facilities by the end of this month.
• I expect to see details on the proposal trickling out this week (for example: home parks now seems more likely than Spring Training locations, except where states prohibit it; we might see upwards of 50 players available for each team to compose 30-man rosters each day), and then a big back-and-forth between the league and the players when it’s officially submitted. Don’t freak out if you see reports of huge disagreements initially – this is tense, important, complicated stuff. Both sides have a lot at stake to protect, so they’re going to use this time in May to get the best deal they can. That said, I do believe, ultimately, the sides will agree on SOME kind of deal (again, subject to all kinds of caveats and flexibility). There’s way too much for the sport to lose if it comes out that they could have come back from a health perspective, but didn’t come back because of a money fight.
• Most forgotten Cubs, eh? That’s a very fun discussion:
From yesterday's Cubs 360 on @WatchMarquee, our "guy you forgot was a Cub." I liked my submission, but @LenKasper trumped us all with a guy who owned a joint called "The Thing."https://t.co/yAnbdbqzxF— [email protected] (@MattSpiegel670) May 6, 2020
• Am I ever going to get tired of watching things like the Cubs beating the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS (their only postseason meeting)? Unlikely:
• Am I ever going to get tired of watching things like Dexter Fowler hitting the ONLY leadoff home run in World Series Game 7 history? Unlikely: