It remains to be seen whether this will be possible, but experts do not rule out the possibility of a return. Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a key voice on the coronavirus pandemic, addressed the potential for the resumption of baseball this summer in a podcast appearance with Peter Hamby (who also wrote things to Vanity Juste).
There is certainly a lot of important information to digest from the interview, but we will focus on some aspects directly related to the game of baseball. Fauci was not prepared to give a strong prediction as to whether we will see MLB and other sports this year – largely due to the great uncertainty that remains in the treatment of COVID-19. According to Fauci, the feasibility of organizing sports “will really depend on what really changes in the coming months.”
Manfred says the Major League Baseball wants to be a key part of the [economic] recovery… and a kind of milestone on the return to normal. So far, he has supported this with creative planning efforts (as we discussed in a recent YouTube video) and, more importantly, with rapid engagement in a critically important study designed to assess the true spread of the disease in the United States.
Fauci imagined a scenario where baseball could indeed kick off a season in mid-summer – without live fans, of course. “If you could get on TV, the Major League Baseball, to start on July 4,” suggested Fauci, “… well, I think you will probably get enough support from people who are dying to see a baseball game. Especially me. I live in Washington. We have the world champions from Washington. You know, I want to see them play again. “
Getting there won’t be easy. Fauci spoke of “proposals” involving gathering and isolating players and others associated with the organization of the sporting event “in large hotels” near the gaming sites. It would be necessary to use this isolation with frequent testing and other efforts to “make sure they don’t end up infecting each other or their families.”
If all of this sounds familiar to you, it certainly seems to be consistent with what we’ve heard from reports of MLB efforts to plan for a possible 2020 campaign. The league is known to have consulted with Fauci and other high-level experts. It is an approach that has obvious (and probably not obvious) risks and limitations. But it is at least somewhat encouraging that Fauci seems to believe that it is conceptually possible. And as he says, “it could be better than nothing”.