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Round Robin: MLB Restart Rumors

There have been a ton of rumors going around about how MLB might restart games amid or after the apex of the Coronavirus pandemic--everything from all teams playing in Arizona to teams playing their own spring training facilities and divisions being completely obliterated and reformed for 2020 only in Arizona and Florida. Our staff sat down and gave their opinions on all the rumors and the thought of getting baseball restarted during the craziness.

Staci: So, I miss baseball as much as anyone. Actually, I miss sports in general... I even watched that weird NBA HORSE tournament the other night and cheered when Zach LaVine won his first round! (Hey Gersson Rosas... bring him back to the Timberwolves, will ya?) Before I comment on any rumors, though, I will say that I don't think any of these are realistic until we 1) have reached some sort of peak transmission and, 2) have immediate testing available to keep both the MLB personnel AND the support personnel (food service, ballpark staff, etc.) as safe as possible. That said... sure, let's get weird! If we can't see the games in person for some or all of the season, I'm all for dividing things up in some sort of wonky divisions and having the Cubs competing against the, like, A's and Rockies and keeping the Cardinals far, far away in Florida. If I can watch it, I'll be parked in front of some device somewhere glued to it... I guarantee it.

Pronk: Things changed so quickly with the influx of COVID19 that I'm not sure any of us can predict how things will turn out. Empty stadiums and neutral sites don't sell tickets, but could be must see TV. Baseball has a chance to gather a lot of fans if it's the only sport playing games. But then there is weighing costs and benefits. Details like player health, quarantining with their teams and not staying with their families, reduced games in a season, changing up divisions, etc.

I suspect we'll need to see effective treatments against COVID19, as well as a more efficient testing system I feel like there's still so much we don't know and are fighting with stabs in the dark. If we can do better with establishing how it's transferred and likely vaccinating against it, then I think baseball happens. But how long until we are at that point?

Tina: We're so starved for baseball that keeping up with virtual games, listening to pod casts (esp The Compound!) and watching players playing the Show become entertainment for us. (I know that Staci has been entertained with Blake Snell's exploits there!) I do agree that we need to make sure everything is safe to do so and situations stable in AZ and FL before we even try to play any games. I'm also OK with realigning the league for this year, if that's what the plan will be. Heck, it might be more fun than seeing the Brew-hoos and the Ded Birds 100x a year.

Matt: I think it'll be back eventually and look very similar to what the CPBL is doing now. Empty stadiums, limited staff. I watched a replay of one the games and it was still a lot of fun. I hope MLB adds mannequins and robots in the stands, that would be hilarious. I was also very much in the 'get in all the games' crowd but that's just not realistic. I really want to do the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues scenario that has been mentioned above. I think it would be a great way to turn the narrative around regarding the season. It's being paused due to horrific circumstances but could end up being a fun footnote in the history of baseball. Think of all the snarky comments made about being the Cactus League champs when referencing Spring Training stats. Now we could legitimately have a Cactus League Champion facing the Grapefruit League Champion. Can you imagine the irony of displaying a Cactus League Championship Banner/Trophy?? I absolutely adore the idea. I also think that this could ultimately be a good thing for MLB. Look at all of the players branching out and becoming more well known. Stroman is doing bullpens from his boat dock, Ian Happ is doing a podcast, Blake Snell is getting destroyed in The Show. We're seeing sides to these guy that we've never seen before and it's GREAT! I want them to be safe, but when they come back it will cement the game as America's Pastime and I CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Brooke: I think that it would be really interesting to launch baseball again without any crowds and with mixed up AZ and FL leagues. Baseball has always seemed like more of an experience than a competitive event. I mean don't get me wrong, there are some very exciting LOUD moments, but it's also about the way the sun shines, the cool breeze, a sip of beer and a bite of hot dog. The games are long and languid. If you are watching on TV the gaps in action are filled in with trivia and stats by Len and JD. If you are at the ball park, you're probably spending a few more moments chatting with friends and family rather than having to keep your eyes glued to the ice and puck in a hockey game. Baseball is such an experience oriented sport that Chicago has an entire neighborhood called Wrigleyville, where the uniform is a shirsey and jeans with a shot of Malort and half priced wings. Do you guys remember when Baltimore played in an empty stadium because of riots? It was eerie. So, I think in order to balance all that, now MLB has the chance to really let their personalities shine. Why not have a homerun derby decide extra innings? Why not mic up players not currenty in the lineup? Why not let the social media teams get creative? Why not mix up all the teams and allow new rivalries to form? LET'S UNLEASH SAVAGE KYLE ON THOSE YAY A'S!!!! My only request is let the teams sequester with their families. Allow ample sick time for any personnel that may need it. As long as the players are happy, then I'm happy to watch!

Steven: If testing and medical equipment is available to the general public and MLB isn't taking anything away from hospitals or any other medical facilities then I am fine with baseball being played again even if it is in some strange format. Also I want the players to be able to have their families somewhere on site. I could not imagine Kris Bryant wanting to separate from his newborn for any extended length of time. Somehow MLB would need to get a mass approval (80% in favor?) from the players before I would be fully on board. It would be hard to imagine a game being played without the superstars and I would also find it hard knowing some guys were forced to choose spending time with family or playing so they can get paid. I think having immediate family on-site eliminates a lot of those concerns. As far as how the season would be played or if there any quirky rules for this season I am all in for pretty much anything. This season will be weird/unique regardless so have some fun with it. I like the idea of a mini home run derby to decide extra-innings especially in that Arizona setting.


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