Major League Baseball prepares for comeback, but many questions remain


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TORONTO – Behind the scenes, the wheels are in motion and baseball is preparing for its return of hope in the short term.

As we know all too well these days, everything is tentative, but according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the MLB is preparing to send a “return to play proposal” to the players’ union, a step that will help make move both sides to try to work out some details.

It’s just a part.

Although the league and MLBPA will need to find common ground on a number of issues – the overall plan, first and foremost, followed by safety and money, not necessarily in that order – before anything can be written in ink, there is also the obvious fact that there is still much progress to be made in terms of health in which we all have a stake.

The words that should be underlined right now are “ideas” and “targets”.

As MLB officials await this pandemic like all of us, we have plenty of time to think, call Zoom and talk about what may or may not happen in the coming weeks.

Part of it sank for public consumption.

Estimated and promising target dates are being discussed, as well as contingency plans that tackle the worst scenarios, such as a virus resurgence that does not allow teams to resume some type of training in the spring during of June and the prospect of a completely lost season.

On the team side, clubs make the distinction between not wanting to jump the gun and trying to give players some sort of schedule that will help them prepare for what will certainly be an extremely unique build-up period.

All this while trying to determine which cities and which stadiums will actually be available.

Despite some setbacks from stars like Mike Trout and Clayton kershaw On a potential quarantine scenario, Toronto Blue Jays major league coach John Schneider has conversations with players who are anxious to get started once safety issues can be resolved.

“Just talk to our guys, and we have a younger team, they want to play,” said Schneider. “They will go crazy. I think the older you get, the more mature you get, the bigger your family gets, your thoughts and priorities may change a bit. But at the end of the day, each player in the big leagues is the best of the best and he is good because he wants to compete.

“I think most players would tell you – they’re impatient and ready to go, within the limits of safety. “

This will be the challenge for the association of players.

It will be difficult to put everyone on the same page for different age groups, life stages and net worth, with some players already floating around the idea of ​​choosing not to participate in the 2020 season.

Red Sox Pitcher Collin McHugh, a 32-year-old veteran of eight major league seasons who has made more than $ 16 million to date, was candid about the matter in a podcast conversation with MassLive in Boston.

“We are in a situation right now where you cannot make it mandatory,” said McHugh. “You can’t say to a guy,” You have to come play, otherwise your place won’t be there when you come back. “You can’t tell a guy to risk his life and that of his family and the lives of everyone he chooses to come play this game. You probably have to have waivers signed and everything you need to make the guys feel comfortable coming back. Then the MLB and the teams are going to have to do everything in their power so that we proceed in the best possible way and not only start playing games, but really give an example of how to do it, how how to do it well, and how to do it safely. “

You can already imagine the divide between veterans like McHugh and players with far less service time still trying to make a mark.

Four different plans, with a few variations, appeared very early – around 40 for all of Arizona, a similar plan for Arizona and Florida, and a few different ideas that involved several hub cities and states, including Texas – but the current preferred route, according to Ken Rosenthal of Athletic, is to place as many teams as possible in their hometown.

Easier said than done in some states. In Toronto, things get even more complex.

As the only Major League team outside the United States, players arriving in Canada should always adhere to the federal government’s 14-day quarantine rule.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said this week that the Blue Jays had spoken to discuss a return, but these conversations are best described as preliminary.

The obvious solution would be for the Jays to play at their spring training home in Dunedin if border restrictions were still in place when baseball is able to return.

It’s probably the only solution outside of playing games in a central city alongside other teams from the states ravaged by COVID-19.

Not really ideal.

Schneider sees TD Ballpark as a realistic option, but has cleverly warned that they have to wait the next few weeks as Florida tries to reopen.

“I think it can be done,” said Schneider. “I think it can be done anywhere if people are careful and it is done the right way. It will just be a totally different reality from what we are all used to.

“Whenever something comes out of these emergency plans, Major League Baseball goes by, you have to understand that we are in an unprecedented period and that everyone is missing baseball. I think we just have to be open-minded. I think the more open you are, the more you can sort of understand everything and understand that everyone wants to play to a certain extent, so you have to make sacrifices. “


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