It remains unclear if baseball will return this year as society deals with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. If it does return, the plan currently being discussed would see the game move away from the Bay Area, according to recent reports that the league and union is discussing resuming the season exclusively in Arizona.
This begs an uncomfortable but necessary question: Will there be baseball played at Oracle Park this year?
That’s what KNBR’s Mark Willard asked longtime Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly on Tuesday night. Baggs tried to balance reality with his optimism when contemplating the uncertain future.
“Part of me wants to say ‘yeah I really doubt it’s going to happen,’ but what’s the harm in hoping, I guess?” Baggs said. “I mean I wouldn’t go out and buy tickets but I think it’s good to hope, it’s a good thing.
“I think the only thing we can hopefully agree on is that all of this we’re doing, the social distancing, all of the ways that it’s taxing our sanity, making us anxious, boring us to tears, it’s all for the greater good. We’re all doing this for each other, for people we’ll never even meet who are vulnerable. I just think we have to be like baseball players and be like a baseball union and have a rock solid solidarity on this until our most learned people — that would be the scientists, the academics, not the politicians — tell us that we’re past this and it’s okay to go back to doing things we’re accustomed to.
“Hopefully we do get to that point this year where we can sit shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed ballpark. I don’t foresee it, but my opinion doesn’t really matter on that. So I’m just hoping for the best I guess.”
Baggs believes that if the idea detailed in Jeff Passan’s piece for ESPN, which states that players and staff would likely have to live in relative quarantine for 4 and 1/2 months, is the only course for baseball to return, the league should hold off.
“If there’s any endangerment of anyone at all, in spring training parks where it’s 110 degrees in Arizona with no fans, and you’re just playing the games for the sake of playing the games.”
I think we should just all take a pause and not try to force anything until we’re really ready for it.”
Listen to the interview below.