MLB Selects a Post-Covid19 Start Date

Tue, Jul 7, 2020 | Greg Wagner


Fenway Park 2006. Credit Aidan Siegal.

Major League Baseball is set to start playing again on July 23. The start of season was delayed from its usual late March start due to the covid19 epidemic causing a de facto  and in many places a de jure ban on large gatherings. Despite the date being set many players and coaches are skeptical of the start date.

According to the New York Times,  delays in testing of the players has halted preseason training for four teams including the 2018 World Series teams the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals, the overall concern for the health of the players has caused some pause. In a statement from the Washington National GM, “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families.” 

Players are to be tested every other day, and many players have tested positive for the virus. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves 1st baseball, has tested positive for covid19 which has led Nick Markakis, Braves outfieder, to opt to sit out the season. Many other players are sitting out the 60-game season citing variations on the theme of its not worth the risk to their health for an abridged season.

With the prospect of playing to empty stadiums, the corvid19 virus continuing to spread, problems with the players virus testing and the contentious negotiations  between the owners and the players, it could be expected that many other players could sit out this season. As Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle stated, “We’re trying to bring baseball back during a pandemic that’s killed 130,000 people,...Sports are like the reward of a functioning society."