Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
When Major League Baseball officials presented a plan for playing the 2020 season in Arizona to the Players' Association on Monday, they did not expect it to become public within 24 hours.
But now that it has, courtesy first of ESPN and the Associated Press before multiple outlets added details, Phase 2 has begun -- however unintentionally.
When asked what is next in the process, a person involved with the plan said simply: "Scrutiny."
Reporters are now picking apart known details of the proposal, which would place players and potentially their families in isolation so they can play a shortened season in the Phoenix area. Players are doing the same, with some in favor and some opposed. Ditto for agents, the union and the league.
One important point is that several government agencies and officials have already been apprised of the plan, and have responded with initial positivity. According to a person with direct knowledge, Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of those officials.
Many in the medical community believe that rapid testing could be available by May or June that would enable careful screening of those in baseball's semi-quarantine.
There is a long way to go before this proposal becomes reality, if it ever does. MLB, like any other industry, is at the mercy of the coronavirus and its trajectory. The next two weeks will tell a great deal about the feasibility of a limited baseball season.
The Arizona plan was one of several ideas shared on Monday between MLB and the union, though one official involved in its design told SNY on Tuesday that it's "this or nothing." High-ranking league officials have expressed a more measured tone on the idea.
There are many concerns in need of addressing. In addition to the possibility that players will be away from families, other workers could be at risk.
In the plan, players would practice social distancing by sitting not in the dugout but in the stands. But directors, producers and other TV personnel work in close proximity, one to two feet from each other.
In a typical game broadcast, as many as 12-to-14 people can be packed in a confined space in the truck. A new system enabling social distancing would be necessary for those workers.
This is just one of many questions. What about elderly coaches? What if a player tests positive after play has begun?
As reported on Tuesday, a small group of baseball officials have been working 18 hour days for three weeks on the concept, working on all of these potential roadblocks.
But many legitimate questions remain. Whether they withstand scrutiny in the coming weeks could determine whether we see any baseball in 2020.