As the CDC recommends canceling events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, it is becoming increasingly clear that Los Angeles Angels baseball will not return before June.
It feels like I was just writing about how baseball was unlikely to return before May. Yeah, that’s because I wrote a piece about that 24 hours ago. As government officials come to terms with the drastic measures required to stem the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus, the sports calendar becomes less and less important with events on it pushed further and further away.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on Sunday that “for eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
The new recommendation comes as Governors and local authorities around the country are shutting down restaurants and bars. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in an interview on CNN that bars in Los Angeles will close on Sunday, and restaurants could soon follow. Earlier in the day, Major League Baseball sent a memo to teams advising against group workouts. Baseball insiders, from Bob Nightengale to Jon Heyman, suggest executives around the league are doubtful games will be played before Memorial Day.
Basically, everyone should be staying home. Fans may wonder why baseball can’t resume play in empty stadiums. If you think about the CDC’s guidance of avoiding social gatherings of 50 people or more, there are 26 active players on each baseball team, so if you put two teams together in a stadium, and forget about the managers, umpires, and people who turn on the lights in the building, you are already past the limit.
Counting eight weeks from today puts the calendar at May 15. Of course, games wouldn’t be able to start right on that date, players would need time to return to club facilities and perhaps play a second, shortened Spring Training. Best case scenario, the regular season could begin on June 1. But remember how I started this article. Each day brings new news to remind us that we have no idea when society can return back to normal. The top priority is keeping people healthy, sports will return once that is accomplished.
Please check back as more information becomes available. In the meantime, our thoughts are with those impacted by this virus. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.