The Rundown: Pumping Brakes on Fauci’s Recommendations, Manfred Says Health Comes First, MLB Could Recoup Lost Revenues Through Expansion

I’m not a big fan of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and it’s not at all politically motivated. I think he is a fine enough person and incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes he swims beyond his depth, using good old common sense as his flotation device once he gets to the deep end of the pool. So when he says baseball could return in a bubble-like ecosystem, that’s not something that gets me truly excited.

I suppose having the approval of the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases theoretically removes some of the burden from the owners, players, and commissioner Rob Manfred, but does it really? If baseball returns and an outbreak occurs among players, team personnel, media representatives, and/or any members of their families, or even worse, civilians in the cities where games are played, who is going to be pointing to Fauci? Probably no one, as Manfred and the owners would likely be the freight going down with that cargo plane.

Could the plan work under the suggested regulations Fauci cites as possible for a return to a new, if temporary, normal? Until you can guarantee the non-spread of coronavirus, I don’t think it’s worth the risk. MLB will get one chance, which could be over the first time someone is infected. Using an idiom I absolutely abhor, I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze.

I had to run track when I was a kid and I hated it with every fiber of my body, but my parents believed it would teach me discipline. So I’d run long distance events and I’d feel like quitting when I got to the final stretch unless I was in the lead. That’s human nature, especially for children still struggling with willpower and fortitude, though I begrudgingly kicked into overdrive for a fourth or fifth place finish just because I didn’t enjoy disappointing my father.

We’ve been isolated for a month at least, even longer for some. Baseball hasn’t been played since March 11. Though we all want to see the return of professional sports, especially baseball for followers of Cubs Insider, why risk it now?

Further, the “bubble” plan raises concerns that the frequent testing required for everybody involved — and the personal protective equipment needed to conduct it — would appear unjustified given the shortages of PPE for  hospitals, clinics and first responders. As fans, we tend to elevate athletes to rarefied heights, but I’m not so sure that’s the right approach when civilian lives are at stake. Coronavirus treatments and testing should not be reserved for the elite, no matter how much we miss baseball.

Pitying the players who may have to be separated from their families to play in a bubble season only adds to my angst. If that’s your biggest concern regarding semi-quarantined baseball, you my need to check yourselves. What about the demand for workers that have to feed, house, test, and treat the players? Taking it a step further, what about their families?

We’ve made it a month without baseball, but we’ve also made it a month without most things conducive to maintaining a normal lifestyle. In yesterday’s column I proposed an idea for a baseball reboot beginning in August but the same guidelines should apply. Our health, and the health of others, is the only thing that should matter. Any compromise, no matter how small, seems dangerous, narcissistic, and hypocritical to me. Let’s finish the race and worry about baseball later.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

We all miss baseball, dude. Let’s just get back to it when we know it’s safe.

Apropos of Nothing

Here are some unique facts about former Cubs players found on the back of some old Topps baseball cards.

MLB News & Notes

Manfred has a plan to save the 2020 baseball season, but only if it guarantees the health of everyone involved.

One way that baseball could offset some of the losses caused by the ongoing pandemic would be to expand.

Dusty Baker is concerned about the dearth of black players in professional baseball.

A report from the NTSB indicates that Roy Halladay had drugs in his system and was doing aerial stunts when his plane crashed, resulting in the pitcher’s death.

Gavin Lux and Ian Happ are the current stars of the MLB The Show 20 Player’s League.

Justin Verlander has resumed a throwing program. The Astros starter had groin surgery two weeks ago.

Two Houston fans accused of using counterfeit tickets to attend Game 7 of the 2019 World Series have filed a lawsuit against the Astros because they feel they were wrongly evicted from the stadium.

Extra Innings

The latest unemployment report indicates that 22 million Americans have now lost their jobs due to COVID-19. “Some things are bigger than baseball.” – Anthony Rizzo

They Said It

  • “There’s a way of doing that. Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • “I’m not going to be away from my family and not see them for 4½ months. Cooper [his 3-month-old son] changes so much in one week, so to miss four months of his life right now, I’m just not going to do it. There’s a lot of things to figure out before I go quarantine myself with my team for four months.”Clayton Kershaw

Thursday Walk Up Song

Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground by Willie Nelson – I was supposed to see Willie this month in Milwaukee, something I had been looking forward to since October. This video will have to suffice temporarily.

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