Off The Field: MLB should stop dragging its heels


Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi is going back to South Korea until the coronavirus pandemic in the United States subsides. DIRK SHADD/Tampa Bay Times

Luis Lemus

With baseball in Korea getting underway, perhaps Major League Baseball can take notes from how they are doing soul in a safe manner and moving forward.

They go on a team bus from city to city and are playing in empty stadiums.

As the New York Post reports,”players are now funneled through a singular entrance at which an infrared body scanner checks their body heat and a team trainer also takes their temperature.”

Hank Conger, who was drafted by and played for the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim, Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays currently plays for the Lottre Giants.

Conger and his wife were on vacation in Australia when the virus struck Korea so they decided that it would be where they parted ways for now in mid-March as he headed for Korea and she headed back home in Orange County, CA.

Casey Kelly, a former big-league prospect in the Boston Red sox minor-league system who ended up getting traded in alongside Anthony Rizzoto the San Diego Padres for Adrian González back in 2010.

Kelly is married and has a daughter. His family is all hopeful for a reunion in the near future.

Beyond eating separately, the team is mostly together.

Outside of the requirement of having their temperature taken as they enter the first facility and having to wear an N 95 facemask, it is not ideal their lives are very typical.

The KBO teams at the furthest are a 200-mile drive apart from each other.

Under the MLB “Arizona plan“ Mouse stadiums are only 60 to 90 minutes apart.

This is a more than doable plan for starting the 2020 season.

Perhaps MLB should take note of what is working in Korea to get teams back on the field and propose it to the players union and get things as close to “normal” as possible.

Conger and Kelly are separated by an ocean from family members. Perhaps it’s time for players in the U.S. to take note and “sacrifice” them being apart from family for a few months.

That is definitely better than watching the re-running of old games or the airing of sports-like activities.

In an article from the Post, “Conger said that when the balls start to fly, it is easy to get lost in the sport — he called it ‘bliss’. “

Pretty sure he’s not the only person in the league who feels that way. So many MLB players will feel the same.

Perhaps major league baseball can take a page out of what’s working for teams in Korea in order to play their teams back on the field.

If the sport wants to maintain its relevancy it will be in their best interest to be one of the first live sports to be “back in business”.

Even if one is not a baseball fan, it’s certainly better than watching only re-airings of games when one already knows how the game ends.

It sure beats watching players playing virtual versions of themselves.