At least nine players have opted out of playing baseball in 2020 (Mike Leake, Joe Ross, Tyson Ross, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Welington Castillo, David Price, Nick Markakis and Felix Hernandez) and at least two others (Mike Trout and Buster Posey) have expressed reservations about playing this year.
Some of those players are among the game’s biggest stars.
Another big star, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, set out his opinion Monday:
Kris Bryant's full answer on testing issues we're seeing throughout baseball right now, which includes this quote, "I wanted to play this year because I felt that it would be safe and I would be comfortable. Honestly, I don't really feel that way." pic.twitter.com/1BdbHrPWWJ— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 6, 2020
So let’s take the most important part of that long statement and look at it, and look at it carefully, and then look at it again:
“I wanted to play this year because I felt that it would be safe and I would be comfortable. Honestly, I don’t really feel that way.”
So... KB says he feels it would be safe to play, but in the next breath says that he “honestly” really doesn’t feel that way.
How many other players feel this or think this and haven’t said so?
He also goes through all the things that every single player, coach and staff member in a team’s traveling party is going to have to do in order to keep baseball going this year, and the thing is, this has to work 100 percent of the time for every single individual involved. Just one slip-up and an entire team could be infected with COVID-19.
If KB honestly doesn’t feel he’ll be safe playing baseball this year, he should opt out. No Cubs fan would hold it against him, at least I wouldn’t. It would appear to me that it won’t be safe to play professional sports in North America until we have a COVID-19 vaccine, and that’s going to be early 2021 at the earliest.
As I wrote this morning:
I continue to believe that the best option here might be for MLB to just say, “We tried,” and shut baseball down until spring 2021.
I haven’t seen anything that’s happened since then to change my mind.