Before the testing, monitoring and sequestering of hundreds of professional baseball players and hundreds more personnel, it’s fair to ask what we have the stomach for.
Sixty men per team, 30 teams, across 60 games. Into the teeth of this thing. Trotting toward the virus, if not in an all-out run, the integrity of the pursuit somewhere between that of an ER nurse and a Comal River tuber.
“When and where” is here, a time and place wearing thin because of rising coronavirus cases, public protocol backpedals and rewarmed fears the worst is still out there somewhere.
The business of baseball is reopening into what amounts to a four-month dip into the bog of what is known and what is not, a crisis managed by those with one eye on human casualties and the other on election day. The rest is batting practice.
So, baseball players, their coaches, their staffers, all the people who tend to the details that present themselves by 7 o’clock as a big-league ballgame, are tasked with keeping calm and carrying on. That means performing. That means entertaining. That means putting something on TV that isn’t recommended by an algorithm and scored by Rotten Tomatoes. It also means pulling a paycheck, just as it means shining up the brand and enriching the man who pays everyone.
That means staying virus-free or surviving the alternative, not for the welfare of the game, but for the good of the guy who wakes up one morning with a slight fever and a sore throat. And then it gets complicated, well beyond the plan to test, treat, quarantine and contact trace, then test again.