The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season doesn’t figure to come until some time in May or June, and though it’s left a void for fans, the more pressing matter is slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In addition to MLB, the NBA, NCAA, NHL and MLS have postponed their respective seasons or cancelled athletic events. The Los Angeles Dodgers closed their Camelback Ranch Spring Training facility and will reassess matters after two weeks.
While society as a whole has been impacted by the spread of coronavirus, the elderly and those with underlying health concerns have shown to be particularly susceptible. Retired Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully falls into the first category.
In an interview with Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, Scully detailed some of the difficulty he and his family have had with living under new social norms:
“We’re like everybody else, we’re hunkered down,” says Scully, who is sheltering with wife Sandi in their Los Angeles home. “But for me, I’ve been hunkered down ever since we hung things up at the end of ‘16, I’m very accustomed to being at home …it’s that old line, if it wasn’t for doctor appointments we wouldn’t have a social life at all.”
“Once in a while one of our children can come over and visit … we have a pretty large master bedroom, so they can sit quite a few feet away just to say hello,” he says. “But there’s no hugging and kissing and nothing like that … we’re trying very hard to follow the rules … the kids are scared that they will bring in something that will just blow me away … it’s a very difficult time to go without hugs, you know?”
Although the separation has proven difficult for Scully, he’s been pleased to see citizens as a whole generally band together:
“From depths of depression we fought our way through World War II, and if we can do that, we can certainly fight through this. I remember how happy and relieved and thrilled everybody was … when they signed the treaty with Japan, and the country just danced from one way or another. It’s the life of the world, the ups and downs, this is a down, we’re going to have to realistically accept it at what it is and we’ll get out of it, that’s all there is to it, we will definitely get out of it.”
“A lot of people will look at it, it might bring them closer to their faith, they might pray a little harder, a little longer, there might be other good things to come out of it,” he says. “And certainly, I think people are especially jumping at the opportunity to help each other, I believe that’s true, so that’s kind of heartwarming, with all of it, it brings out some goodness in people, and that’s terrific, that’s terrific.”
MLB has twice delayed the start of the 2020 season, with the latest timeline making May 11 the earliest possible date. Their latest step in pushing Opening Day back was in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending no gatherings of more than 10 people be held for an eight-week period.
The hope nonetheless remains to play a full season, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged it may no longer be likely and there is a point in the calendar when MLB would have to decide on possibly cancelling the entire year.
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