It’s now been a few days since MLB, along with every other sports league in America, suspended operations for their league due to growing concerns with the coronavirus spreading through the country. I haven’t really had too much on this since it happened because, I mean, what is there to say? It’s all surreal and in the immediate aftermath I was both not super concerned with the sports side of things and moreso just not sure how to talk about it. I’m still not really sure, to be honest, but there are a few things I want to cover and I’m going to work through a few of those thoughts below.
- First, and certainly the most important point, is that MLB and the rest of these leagues made the right call. If there is a bone to pick with MLB on this front, it’s that they took way too long to go through with it. MLB had an advantage over the other leagues here in that they were the ones whose season hadn’t started yet and they could have led the way with cancellations, or at least crowd-free games. Instead, they were the last ones to act. At some point that’s something they’ll have to answer for, but that time isn’t now. They ultimately took the right action, even if it was a couple days late.
- The Red Sox (and other teams, but this is a Red Sox blog) need to step up for their park employees both down in Fort Myers and at Fenway. these concession workers and ushers and security guards are going to be missing out on pay for an indefinite period of time, and that’s terrifying. The Red Sox need to step up and fill those gaps by paying them for the hours that are missed. The argument is that there is some complication, which, sure. But also, not a ton! It’s true that Fenway employees are paid by Aramark, a contractor that is hired by the Red Sox. That doesn’t mean the Red Sox can’t pay them. If players in the NBA can manage it, I think John Henry and company can too. That group needs a PR win, and more importantly it’s just the right thing to do. It’s time to step up.
- Similarly, MLB as a whole needs to step up for minor-league players. We already all know about how criminally underpaid they are during the season, and now they are going unpaid for this indefinite amount of time. They have to find other ways to get paid, but A) nobody is hiring them when they don’t even know how long they can work, B) the gig economy with things like Uber and Lyft are going to take a major hit as this gets worse, C) they can’t file for unemployment because they are under contract with their team, and D) they are also expected to stay in game shape to return at the drop of a hat. Emily Waldon shared concerns of some minor-leaguers. I’m certainly not personally owed an explanation for every step they are taking, but I hope the league is working on a solution and comes up with one soon. These players don’t deserve to be caught in the million here.
- I am still wary to talk about the season once it restarts, because there is still so much unknown. The best-case scenario for a return has been talked about as May 1, and even that seems optimistic. We have know idea when normalcy will return, and then once it does how much spring training will they need? How does the draft happen? Do they really play the World Series in, like, December if they need to? What happens to the offseason and next season? What do rosters look like whenever the season does open back up, assuming it even does? What happens with service time and contracts? Will they schedule doubleheaders? There are massive ripple effects that we can’t even really speculate on. That applies to Red Sox specific things too. Chris Sale probably doesn’t miss as much time, if any at all. Maybe Alex Verdugo is back at that point. But again, we have no idea what’s going to happen and I’m not super comfortable speculating about anything like I have any sense of when baseball is going to come back.
- As far as we go, I’m still trying to figure out how we are going to tackle that, so I’m turning to you. First, I want your opinion on things I already have tentatively planned. For example, I’m thinking of pushing the prospect voting beyond 20, but I’m not sure how far to go if I do go with that. I’m also thinking of some look backs at different periods of Red Sox history, though I may push that on other people on staff because that’s not exactly my forte. I’m going to try and figure out Twitch and do live Out of the Park Baseball sims day-by-day of games that were scheduled for that day and I’ll post the games and little recaps to that on the site. So, I’d love opinions on all of that, and I’d also like to hear of any other things you’d like to see during this time of uncertainty. I think the goal is to mostly keep it light. In a time of such great anxiety, it’s probably best to avoid too much heavy stuff wherever we can.
- Finally, just another plea to take this seriously and stay safe. And, as far as the comments below here and on our open threads go, be nice and be civil. People are stuck inside and anxious and have pent up frustration. I don’t want this to be the place where that frustration is taken out. We’re all trying to work through this period of enormous lack of clarity. Let’s do it together.