If the 2020 MLB season gets underway amid the coronavirus pandemic, the expectation is that it will be without fans in attendance -- at least at the outset. But crowds or no crowds, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is ready.
"Well we didn't really have many fans in the minor leagues come to the games," Alonso said Thursday while chatting with Tony Dokoupil on CBS This Morning. "We've played in front of some empty stadiums before."
Regardless of the kind of season that could be in store if/when the league returns (MLB could reportedly present an official proposal to the players in the next few days), Alonso just wants to play.
"I'd just be happy to play baseball," he said. "I hope we can play more than 100 games this year. And whatever cards we're dealt, we gotta play 'em because this is an unprecedented time. As a professional baseball player I will never hit a home run on my birthday, so if I get to hit a home run on Dec. 7, that would be crazy."
While many scenarios have been reportedly discussed when it comes to the potential resumption of the season, the one the league reportedly has as its goal right now involves opening up in as many home ballparks as possible in front of no fans.
The above would include a testing element, social distancing guidelines, and the potential of an expanded playoff format, bigger active rosters, and/or a universal DH (among other things).
Alonso, who has been staying ready for the season while working out but abiding by social distancing recommendations at the same time, likened the comfort and reliability of sports to the sun going up and down.
"I feel like sports in general, people rely on them so much because it makes them feel good inside," he explained. "Having a sports season, it's like the sun goes up, the sun goes down. It was almost that reliable."
At the moment, the hope is that MLB will be able to begin a second spring training of sorts in June, with Opening Day around July 1. But that will be largely dependent on the coronavirus, and whether potential new hot spots in reopening states make it difficult or impossible to resume under that timeline or at all.
In addition to the above, some players -- including Mike Trout -- have expressed concern over potentially having to leave their families for a long period of time in order to play in a quarantined environment. But under the plan to open in many or all home ballparks, that specific concern might be allayed.
As Alonso and the rest of baseball continues to wait, the Mets star has also been getting his Homers for Heroes foundation off the ground, which included a pretty exciting announcement that he shared on CBS on Thursday.