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From the Sports Editor’s Desk… Will Major League Baseball be able to survive COVID-19

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
Major League Baseball has finally gotten underway and I for one am happy to see it as I have already probably watched more games already in the first few days than I did last season in the first two months.
 
Now, before some of you go off on me because of some of the opening day activities, I will share with you the same thing I told my father-in-law and that is simply this – I don’t like beer drinking which I know most of these athletes do but that doesn’t mean that I am going to stop watching the GAME itself even though I don’t care the least for beer.
 
I enjoy the hitting, the pitching, the fielding, the strategy – the GAME.
So I don’t mind having to pick through the nut jar and toss aside the pecans and small peanuts to find what I like and that is the almonds and hazelnuts if you know what I mean.
There have been some really good games in the early going featuring great pitching and great defense in close one-run games and there have several contests that have seen high numbers of strikeouts recorded.
Those have happened early on due to no pre-season baseball which has allowed the pitching to stand out in the early going as hitters have not seen enough live ball pitching to get their timing down as of yet.
I don’t expect that to hold true for long as the more live arms the batters see, the better their timing will become and they will start to rip the cover off the baseball.
While many are enjoying the return of their teams to the diamond, Tuesday brought further concerns that try as they may, the MLB may be in for an end before they get started.
The reason – COVID-19.
Even though the league has tried to do all it can to prevent the spread of the virus, reports came out that the Florida Marlins had 14 players and support personnel that tested positive for the virus after their series with the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend.
As a result, the Marlins opening home game was postponed while the Phillies and Yankees were also canceled because the Marlins had occupied the visitor’s dugout which needed to be deep cleaned before another team came in.
Herein lies the concerns as if this is just an opening sign of what lies ahead, there will be no way that the season will be able to continue especially with the virus making such an early appearance after just three to four games played.
Those who opted out of the season didn’t take long to chime in as to why there reasoning for opting out was so strong.
Many of those felt like the season was being rushed and the planning was very good by Commissioner Rob Manfred which could possibly lead to a larger outbreak among MLB players.
The jury is still out but if something does happen that MLB has to abruptly put the brakes on the already shortened 60-game season, then don’t expect the National Football League to waste much time in following suit especially since the game of football is so much of a close-contact sport than even baseball.
I will be disappointed if the MLB can’t finished the remaining 56 games they have, but I truly understand because after all the health of our nation is more important than a game.
It is funny because even though the teams have done a great job of keeping away their fans by putting up cutouts, the pitchers carry their own rosin bags to the mound and a few more evident things that can be seen when watching a game.
But I also find myself watching for the little things like most of the guys in the dugout not wearing a mask, loading up a big cud of tobacco in a jaw and start spitting which is a no-no, and high fiving.
Again, the next week may determine if there will be any hopes of finishing the season.
My advice to MLB fans – don’t hold your breath. It’s probably a 20 percent for and 80 percent against the season being completed. It’s kind of like sending New York Yankee slugger Aaron Judge to bat against a little league pitcher.
You get the picture.