Major League Baseball has a plan. Or at least they have a proposal. A proposal to play a shortened baseball season starting in July. The owners have approved the proposal and sent it to the Players Association. So why haven't we heard anything about their plan for COVID testing?
Universal designated hitters are cool and all, but it doesn't matter what the product on the field looks like if they don't have a legitimate and comprehensive plan in place for testing players and other essential people on a regular basis. Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle did a great job outlining some major concerns on Twitter.
Doolittle isn't alone. Players like Oakland's Jake Diekman are actually high-risk. He shared his concerns with the San Francisco Chronicle:
"If they’re going to test us all the time, are we taking tests from people who really need it? I don’t want us to get tested every other day and basically snake all these tests because they want to put on MLB, and yet let’s say the hospitals in Oakland, we’re borrowing theirs, if 50 people a day can get tested but it would be 100 if we weren’t taking them."
This is the main public relations battle any sport is going to fight if they return. Medical resources aren't as scarce as they were a month ago, but we're still far from where we need to be. If this is part of MLB's plan, they should have already leaked it. Or outright shared it. It should have been sent immediately to baseball's biggest writers. They can't just think they're going to have players agree to play and then figure out the part where they keep them safe sometime in June.
ESPN and MLB.com's homepages should have huge articles about how baseball is going to safely entertain its fans this summer in the face of a public health crisis. This can't be some trade secret because they think they have a chance to be the only sport and become America's pastime again.
And if they don't have a good plan? Good luck to the players who are going to have to take the blame from a public thirsty for distraction. The players, with their health and the health of their families at stake, are the ones who will be forced to say no. They're going to be the bad guys in a lot of eyes. After all, the owners and the league had a plan! Even if they really didn't.
Hopefully, this is concern over nothing. Maybe they have a way to get tests without shorting the public. Maybe they've been using the last two months to confer with Dr. Fauci and his friends and they know something the rest of us don't. I sincerely hope that's the case. I want there to be baseball and other sports because I love sports and that's a sign we're going in the right direction. If MLB can lead the way to the old normal that is awesome. Let's just see that plan before we get too excited.