By: Ed Jenkins
With normalcy quickly becoming a crying need, many Americans are looking hopefully to the opening of major league baseball.
They are going to be disappointed.
On Monday, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. conducted a conference call with the 30 Clubs of Major League Baseball. Following last night’s newly updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance.
“MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead. The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.”
Officials of Major League Baseball sent their ideas on a variety of issues pertaining to life under the Coronavirus to the Major League Players Association in turn sent a counter-proposal.
At least the two sides are communicating.
Issues range from actually playing games to salaries, service time, how to handle performance bonuses and even how to house players.
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark released the following short statement a couple of days ago: “Players are of course disappointed they won’t be able to compete on the field. At the same time, they recognize the importance of public health and safety.”
Clark had earlier noted that his Players Association “is in daily contact with Major League Baseball, and our staffs are conferring regularly with federal health officials, state and local governments, and infectious disease experts to develop contingency plans. As circumstances evolve, our efforts will evolve as well.
“Players want to compete and provide entertainment to fans,” Clark added. “The Association’s focus will remain finding ways to do so in an environment that protects not just players’ personal health and safety, but also the health and safety of fans, umpires, ballpark employees, club employees and everyone in the baseball family.”
MLB has also announced that “With public schools closing across the country and people isolating themselves at home, those in need have increased difficulty getting food. As announced on Monday, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have teamed up to help ease that burden with a combined $1 million donation that will be split evenly between Feeding America (FeedingAmerica.org) and Meals on Wheels America (MealsonWheelsAmerica.org).”
“In these difficult times of navigating this pandemic, it is important that we come together as a society to help the most vulnerable members of our communities,” Manfred said in a release. “As an institution, Baseball is extending our commitment to addressing childhood hunger and food availability issues during this crisis. We are grateful for the partnership with our players on this critical issue, which has the potential to deeply affect children and seniors.”