WARSAW – Baseball fans across the country are missing their sport something fierce right now. And from the sounds of some within the professional ranks, they are willing to get it going in any way possible.
But is it the right call?
The USA Today did an extensive breakdown of the manpower needed to put together a ‘baseball bubble’ in Phoenix. While it might sound good in theory to be out front, even say “look at us, we beat this!”, the reality of a situation is no one has an answer for anything in terms of a timeline or when this might all end. And to work against the suggestions of the CDC, the hospitals and all of the families that would see their dads, husbands, brothers or boyfriends be committed to a hotel for four to five months straight in the desert just doesn’t promote a good look.
MLB is wishful in its hopes of restarting its billion dollar empire, where the obvious financial gain could be unlike anything it could imagine in televising the only live sport in the country. However, turning Phoenix into a potential utopian baseball society for a privileged 10,000 or so, while Phoenix’s general population continues to suffer yet again goes against the grain.
I heard MLB’s ambitious ideas for a season beginning in May, and I thought about the movie The Sandlot. Scotty Smalls just wanted to make some friends, and found them at the sandlot playing baseball. As the group eventually needed a ball to use, Smalls unknowingly grabbed his dad’s prized Babe Ruth signed ball. After hitting it over the fence and into the teeth of Hercules the megadog, Smalls needed to get his dad’s baseball back. When the boys find out Babe Ruth signed it, all of a sudden there was heightened urgency.
MLB is losing money (aren’t we all?) and wants it’s proverbial Babe Ruth ball back. The problem is, Hercules, in this role played by the coronavirus, is getting in the way and willing to take anyone down, regardless of what kid went over the fence to get the ball. It’s very candy coated as The Sandlot can present, but what MLB seems to be losing in all of this is the actual human element.
Babe Ruth himself quotes in The Sandlot, “Remember, kid. There’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
Perhaps Rob Manfred could heed the advice of the mighty Babe himself and put the Phoenix idea back in the kettle. Be safe. Don’t be sorry.
President Tony Clay is doing that with Warsaw Little League, as he and the board are sitting pat for at least two more weeks while Indiana continues it’s stay-at-home initiative. Little League International won’t issue any formal statement on a timeline until at least May 11. There’s not really any other choice.
“We aren’t going to make any decisions before about two more weeks go by,” Clay said Wednesday evening. “We absolutely intend to have a season, but when is the absolute million dollar question.”
The Wawasee Community Summer League also held firm that they would love to have games take place this year, but need the green flag first.
“As a board, last week we decided that we will have baseball and softball in 2020,” said WCSL president Jamie Beer Thursday morning. “When this all comes to an end with the outbreak or some of the limitations lifted, these kids will really need something “normal” for lack of a better word to get them back in the swing of things. The only thing that might stop that would be the social distancing and group sizes remain until the snow flies next fall or winter. We are going to continue to prepare and when the time comes, we’ll be ready to get things started.”