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Coronavirus: How will it affect the 2020 MLB season?

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  • Coronavirus: How will it affect the 2020 MLB season?

    I think the time is overdue to have a thread on the coronavirus. This is a baseball forum, and I'm not proposing a general discussion of the virus and its spread. But it has obvious relevance to pro sports, including baseball, because large numbers of people gather to watch these sports, and we're approaching the time when large crowds may be discouraged. France has now banned all public gatherings of > 5000 people. Japan has cancelled the Cherry Blossom festival, and is even giving serious consideration about whether to hold the Olympics. Numerous athletic events in several sports have been cancelled or postponed. Several soccer games in Europe and Japan have been postponed. A pro bike race in the United Arab Emirates not only cancelled the final two stages or days when two staff members from one of the teams tested positive, but has quarantined all the riders and associated staff in their hotel until they can be tested. And most relevant to MLB, the pro Japanese baseball league has decided to ban attendance at all its remaining preseason games. Japan has been particularly proactive, closing all schools and universities for the month of March.

    AFAIK, MLB has not made a statement on this, but they may have to soon. A vaccine is at least a year away, and absent that, about the only thing individuals can do, other than washing their hands regularly, is practice what's known as social distancing--avoiding unnecessary contact with other people, particularly with large groups of people. If the virus spreads significantly in the U.S., i think it will definitely impact attendance at ball games, and certainly interaction of players with fans, and in a really bad scenario, could even reach the stage where some players or teams might consider not playing.

    Beyond the risk to fans, and to players in locker rooms, all pro sports teams of course do a lot of traveling, which is to a great extent how the virus has spread so far so fast to this point. I would think all players would have to be tested regularly, particularly before a road trip, where a single positive individual could spread the virus to people in widespread areas of the U.S. in a matter of days.
    Last edited by Stolensingle; 02-29-2020, 09:48 PM.

  • #2
    Wow, yeah, definitely some scary s... stuff. I'm glad to see much of the world is reacting appropriately. Hopefully, this goes no further than it already has, and everyone, please be especially aware.

    This can indeed potentially blow up and affect the 2020 season. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
    Put it in the books.

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    • #3
      My guess is next to nothing. H1N1 didn't affect the season in 2009.
      46 wins to match last year's total

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post
        My guess is next to nothing. H1N1 didn't affect the season in 2009.
        But the mortality rate of coronavirus, based on current statistics, is about 100 times greater than the mortality of H1N1. Even taking into account that H1N1 mortality rates were much higher for younger people than older people--the opposite of the case for coronavirus (and most flu viruses)--the mortality rate for coronavirus is still about ten times higher for young adults than the rate for H1N1.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stolensingle View Post

          But the mortality rate of coronavirus, based on current statistics, is about 100 times greater than the mortality of H1N1. Even taking into account that H1N1 mortality rates were much higher for younger people than older people--the opposite of the case for coronavirus (and most flu viruses)--the mortality rate for coronavirus is still about ten times higher than for H1N1.
          I think those are inflated by Chinese letting their people die. At this point, I don't give a rat's ass about rates. I'm sick of it all.

          If they want to cancel games, go ahead. No skin off my nose.
          46 wins to match last year's total

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post

            I think those are inflated by Chinese letting their people die.
            Statistics outside of China support this mortality rate, and the head of the CDC recently said that he believes that the 2% mortality rate is fairly accurate. There may be, of course, a significant number of people with no symptoms, resulting in an under-estimate of the number of infections, and thus an over-estimate of the mortality rate. But it's very unlikely that it would be of this magnitude.

            Also, it isn't just the mortality rate that's a problem. About 20% of the cases are classified as severe or critical, with people contracting pneumonia and having trouble breathing. The H1N1 virus infected about 60 million people in the U.S. If only a small fraction of that number were infected by coronavirus, the severe and critical cases would overwhelm the capacities of our medical system to treat them.

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            • #7
              Keep. It. Baseball.
              Put it in the books.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by milladrive View Post
                Keep. It. Baseball.
                Except when the non-baseball topic is trivial, as in the Mike Trout thread in the HOF sub-forum.

                So what the rules really involve is no discussion of serious topics not related to baseball--even when the preceding discussion actually was, as it was relevant to the question of whether the coronavirus threat would be sufficient to impact the baseball season. Sam raised a legitimate question, and I responded to it. Comparing COVID-19 to H1N1 is clearly relevant to the issue of whether baseball will continue as usual. . As opposed to a discussion of coffee that has no relevance whatsoever to baseball.

                I'm getting a little tired of the double standard. .
                Last edited by Stolensingle; 03-02-2020, 02:23 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stolensingle View Post

                  Except when the non-baseball topic is trivial, as in the Mike Trout thread in the HOF sub-forum.

                  So what the rules really involve is no discussion of serious topics not related to baseball--even when the preceding discussion actually was, as it was relevant to the question of whether the coronavirus threat would be sufficient to impact the baseball season. Sam raised a legitimate question, and I responded to it. Comparing COVID-19 to H1N1 is clearly relevant to the issue of whether baseball will continue as usual. . As opposed to a discussion of coffee that has no relevance whatsoever to baseball.

                  I'm getting a little tired of the double standard. .
                  Double standard? In-depth posts about anything other than baseball is not what this site is for. Sure, "in-depth" is a judgement call, but hardly that of a double standard.
                  Put it in the books.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    MLB has advised players not to sign autographs, to minimize contact with fans. Instead, pre-signed items will be handed out.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stolensingle View Post
                      MLB has advised players not to sign autographs, to minimize contact with fans. Instead, pre-signed items will be handed out.
                      This seems like a wise precaution. Fans (and MLB employees) should exercise the same prudence they ought in limiting exposure to any strain of influenza - regular washing of hands, avoiding unnecessary contact with strangers, etc. There's no need for MLB to consider more extreme measures like we are seeing from some other quarters (like playing games in empty ballparks) unless and until the United States (and/or Canadian) government informs us that more extreme measures are necessary to protect ourselves.

                      I honestly hadn't given this subject any thought with relation to baseball until reading the OP. It's possible there could be some affect, but hopefully it will be minimal (i.e. few players getting sick). I'm all for MLB taking reasonable precautions, but there's certainly no reason to panic until there's, y'know, reason to panic.
                      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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                      • #12
                        Another very simple step baseball could take is to eliminate the post-game handshake (or high five) line. That's already being implemented in a couple of college basketball leagues. Baseball players I think have an advantage over those in other pro team sports in that they don't have to come into physical contact with each other much (the main exception being when a player is tagged out, and even then you don't have to touch him with your hand). When you think about it, you can play an entire game without ever touching anyone (players do come into physical contact in the dugout, but that isn't necessary, and again, they could take steps to avoid it). Most football, basketball and hockey players can't do that. The only common surface players touch with their hands would be the ball, and in a typical game, the ball is replaced dozens of times.

                        LOL, maybe the umpires should start wiping the ball with alcohol periodically. It would probably also remove some of the stuff pitchers use to get an edge.
                        Last edited by Stolensingle; 03-05-2020, 09:42 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Yes, I am concerned. However, I am not panicking just yet. A lot of news reports and in varied news links make it seem that panic has begun. This is the problem today, panic.

                          Of course I hope for the best. The flu epidemic of 1918 is clearly on the minds of medical professionals throughout medicine and government. This is appropriate, IMO. We must learn from the past or we are bound to repeat it. Yet, to date so many parallels to another virus are clear. The AIDS scare of the mid-1980s, most especially 1984-5 as I remember it, was similar from the media standpoint. Overnight, people were afraid to do what they had been doing for decades, and pig-headed beliefs were everywhere. People did not know any better. Scare tactics, for whatever the agenda, do not work to change everyone's behavior because some people do not watch the news in any case. Without proper information, people over-react, and poor choices continue. That combination would seem to be worse with a flu virus (see 1918).

                          So, it is very much a baseball topic, IMHO. The worst case scenario could easily lead to a cancellation of some portion of the schedule. Something tells me that such a cancellation would be in the second half of the season when fans, ballplayers and stadium employees would most prefer to play. In the very least, it will likely lead to lower attendance figures.

                          Just IMHO, but I am an optimist. I believe the medical profession will gain control of the situation, and either a vaccine or proper precautions will be available where we need that. Better safe than sorry, just like our grandparents would have preached.
                          Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

                          A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

                          Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The NBA has warned its teams it may have to play without fans:

                            https://bleacherreport.com/articles/...ronavirus-memo

                            In other countries, the emphasis is on banning attendance at outdoor events more than indoor ones, so the NBA approach may put more pressure on MLB. Some MLB teams have restricted access to reporters and scouts from S. Korea, Italy and Iran (do they play baseball in Iran?), because these countries currently have the highest rates of cases per population. But if their current rates are the standard, many other countries will soon have to follow in the restricted list.
                            Last edited by Stolensingle; 03-06-2020, 09:38 PM.

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                            • #15
                              After a call between league officials and team owners on Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball joined the NBA and NHL in closing clubhouses to the media but intends to complete spring training and open the season as scheduled — with fans in attendance. The caveat, of course, is that the situation could change between now and opening day on March 26. While the league is working with federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clubs are already in communication with their respective local governments, and once teams return to the home cities, some of these considerations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Teams in Seattle and California, for instance, have more acute concerns than those in the middle of the country.
                              https://sports.yahoo.com/should-mlb-...224235397.html


                              Just occurred to me: Suppose that MLB does ban fan attendance. This would be a good test of home field advantage. Studies suggest that the most important factor in home advantage is the umpires, consciously or unconsciously, biasing certain calls to the home team, pressured by all the home tam's fans. That factor should disappear if the game is played with no fans, and any HFA would have to be due to other factors, such as visiting teams staying in hotels rather than at home, maybe unfamiliarity with nuances in the playing field, and so on.
                              Last edited by Stolensingle; 03-10-2020, 12:49 AM.

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