As several states remain under some form of a stay-at-home order and experience a sliver of positive developments in slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), some of the discussion has shifted to when citizens will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy.
And in the case of Major League Baseball, scenarios with how the 2020 regular season would begin and be played out have been broached with the MLB Players Association. Two possibilities became public within the past week, with both involving Spring Training facilities.
Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten cautioned several options are being discussed, which MLB commissioner Rob Manfred echoed.
Meanwhile, players from nearly all 30 teams, staff members, stadium workers and more are participating in a coronavirus antibody study, according to Molly Knight of The Athletic:
Major League Baseball team employees are the subjects of the first and largest COVID-19 antibody study in the United States, the lead researchers of the study told The Athletic today.
Ten thousand employees of 27 of the league’s 30 clubs have volunteered to take part in what researchers from Stanford, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory are calling the COVID-19 Sero Prevalence Study, an MLB spokesman confirmed.
The Dodgers are one of the 27 teams that agreed to participate in this study. https://t.co/HlyMM2pnMD
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) April 15, 2020
Jay Bhattacharya, MD, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the lead researchers of the study, explained why the scope is extending well beyond MLB players:
Bhattacharya said it was important to include people like part-time ushers and concessionaires, “front line people,” who interact with a large number of people in their jobs.
“This will be the first time we will be able to see how truly prevalent COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States,” said Bhattacharya. “And instead of it taking years to pull together a study of this scope, especially with stay-at-home orders, MLB has helped us turn it around in a matter of weeks.”
While researchers from Stanford, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory are hopeful to gain more insight into the virus, results of the test are not going to be a factor for MLB when setting a timeline for the 2020 season.
Manfred continues to maintain the league will only do so once public health officials have deemed it safe. MLB reportedly had early support from health officials for their Arizona plan, which called for all 30 teams to be quarantined in The Grand Canyon State.
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