It was Wednesday afternoon and a veteran relief pitcher was in his car, driving to his team’s home city with the intention of playing baseball in the midst of a pandemic. He spent the prior days in a remote location wondering whether he should drive north to his house or head west for his job. He chose the latter, despite clear hesitation, because he figured it was worth it to at least give this all a chance. As he drove, a central question beckoned, one that lingered across the sport when teams officially restarted their workouts a couple of days later.
“Why are we doing this?”
Mike Trout lent his voice and his stature to that sentiment on Friday morning, while expressing unmistakable concern over the possibility of testing positive for the coronavirus and spreading it to his pregnant wife, who’s only a month away from delivering the couple’s first child. Such trepidation from the undoubted face of baseball sent shockwaves through the industry, but Trout was far from alone.
Managers all over the sport, scrambling for the proper balance of reassurance and understanding, have spent the better part of this week hearing similar concerns from their players as camps start up…