Coronavirus is Now Impacting Baseball

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Let’s get this out of the way: No professional baseball players have been affected… yet. The coronavirus is now, however, impacting professional baseball. The scary part about this coronavirus, is that someone doesn’t know they have it until they are already contagious.

The MLB has been warning its players for weeks about the coronavirus and what precautions they need to take. They’ve advised against players shaking hands or giving high-fives to fans. They have also suggested not giving autographs, but that if a player felt so compelled, he should never use the fan’s pen. Arm-bumps instead of fist-bumps.

Thus far, the MLB has no plans to delay the start of the season. That’s not the case in Japan and Korea, however, where the season openers have been delayed.

Atsushi Saito, Nippon’s commissioner says, “”We can’t play games in the current situation. [For] every one person [infected by the coronavirus] in a large crowd, two to three more will likely become infected.”

The MLB’s Statement:

According to reports, the media has been shut out from locker rooms in the NHL due to the coronavirus. Although the MLB hasn’t taken that level of precautions, they did release a statement to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Monday. “We are undertaking many precautions currently. For example, we are asking anyone — including media — who has visited a high-risk area, as defined by the CDC, within the last 14 days not to visit our facilities.

“We are also discussing additional measures internally and with other leagues. At this time, we have not made changes to our media-access procedures, and we will advise if we determine to take such steps.”

A Harvard epidemiologist named Mark Lipsitch suggests that 20-60% of the world’s adults would eventually be infected. Lipsitch with the death toll reaching into the millions. The virus has already killed almost 4,000.

With crowds reaching 40,000-plus, it will only be a matter of time before an infected person enters the stands.

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Ken Allison is the senior of two MLB Department Heads, as well as a writer and editor for Overtime Heroics. A life-long MLB fan, he's also written for CubsHQ and had the opportunity to try out for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.