By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Scott Boras just wants baseball back. Or so it seems.
The super-agent spoke with The Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman and offered a proposal that would bring baseball back. While Boras certainly has a financial stake in baseball taking place, his aim — at least on the surface level — appears to be mostly pure.
“We can prepare a system that provides inspiration and do it in a responsible way that aligns with the standards of isolation,” Boras told Silverman. “I think it’s something that could be considered.”
It was actually the second such proposal that Boras has put forth, as he shared one with the Los Angeles Times last week. That one had the season starting in June and the World Series being played in December. This one’s a bit different.
Boras’ “functional isolation” proposal, in a nutshell, is this:
–Every MLB team lives in “bubbles of isolation” near their spring training cities in Florida and Arizona.
–“No families, no visitors.” Teams ride buses together, eat together, and live in separate hotels together.
–Daily coronavirus tests.
The timeline? Not yet determined.
Which leads us to this.
The likelihood? Seemingly impossible.
Silverman noted that Boras “doesn’t want to come across as cavalier when it comes to the mortal threat posed by the virus.” But if he’s not cavalier, then he is at the very least hopefully optimistic.
For one, the proposal would require players to leave their families. At the most uncertain time of most Americans’ lives, asking baseball players to leave their wives, kids, parents, and relatives for an indefinite amount of time, just so they can play a game to “provide inspiration” to Americans? That won’t happen. Getting baseball players to ship off to Jupiter, Florida, while leaving their spouses to raise a family, shop for groceries, maintain a household, etc. … it’s quite the ask.
But even if that were to happen, this scenario requires 1,800 coronavirus tests available to MLB every single day. That’s 12,600 per week. More than 50,000 tests for the four-week program proposed by Boras.
Tests are certainly becoming more available, but not nearly to the point of that type of availability for a non-essential entity like a baseball league.
Another major flaw in the thinking is the proposal that “anyone who comes up positive for coronavirus is isolated until cleared.” Surely by now we know that it does not work quite like that. With everyone living in close quarters, if one person tests positive, he will not be the only person to test positive. The coronavirus is more contagious than most of us fully comprehend, and one single positive test would likely shut down this entire dream operation.
After all of that, the plan is for real games to take place in empty stadiums. The locales of those stadium were not specified, but Boras noted that the regular season would last through October, with the playoffs happening in neutral-site domed stadiums in November.
While there obviously wouldn’t be fans in attendance, the games would still require broadcast crews to report for work, which would involve employees working in production trucks, and in control rooms. Umpires would be needed, too. They’d all have to be regularly tested, as would the players, which would make that number of 50,000 tests skyrocket to an incalculable amount.
At a time when hospitals have limited supplies, in a month where we have been warned to expect hundreds of thousands of deaths, the idea of going through all of this effort solely to ensure that a baseball season is played in 2020 seems unrealistic and, frankly, unimportant.
As a nation, we’d all love to have some live sports to keep us entertained and distracted from the frightening realities of the world. But the sports world is shut down right now for a reason. Though Boras’ proposal is one of hope, and though he was not suggesting for this plan to go into action immediately, the precariousness of just about every aspect of the plan shows exactly why we are currently living in a sports-free world. And why we’ll have to continue doing so for quite some time.
While it’s nice to dream about, spending even five minutes really thinking about it serves as a reminder of just how distant we are from any return of any pro sports.
Nevertheless, Boras summed up his proposal thusly: “The main thing is we’re able to provide an inspirational product to America as we go through a difficult time.”