Appearing on WEEI radio in Boston on Tuesday afternoon, the 2018 National League MVP told the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Show he believes there’s a “50-50 chance” the 2020 season will be played in any shape or form.
Yelich sees a lot of challenges with quarantined season
Yelich specifically weighed in on the proposed quarantined season played entirely in Arizona, which was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
In that plan, Yelich sees a lot of challenges that would have to be overcome.
“I saw that last night, I think late last night was the first time I’d actually heard of that plan," Yelich told WEEI. "I think a lot of guys have been talking about it today, obviously. I think there are a lot of challenges to that plan. I don’t think that is the plan that they are for sure going with. I could be wrong. I would have to look into it a little more, but it would definitely be challenging.
"Now, maybe that is something that we have to do just because of the times that we’re in, and if that is our only option to play then maybe it is our only option to play. I think there’s definitely a lot of hurdles and challenges that need to be talked through.”
Yelich then added:
“There’s a very real chance that we don’t play as much as there is that we do play. I would say it is probably 50/50.”
Those are not words baseball fans want to hear, but a season cancellation does seem a bit more likely with each passing day. There’s no easy solution here. There’s no experience to draw from. All that is clear is that the safety of the players and the public in general has to be put first. How to ensure those two things is the ultimate challenge.
Yelich: ‘Nobody really knows a start date’
Yelich also believes the discussion can’t truly begin until a firm start date can be established.
MLB is hoping to reopen spring training in May, which would push opening day into June or possibly even early July. Until that’s set in stone, there’s no way to lay out a schedule.
“Nobody really knows a start date or when that would even be a possibility, so that is the most challenging thing," Yelich said. "It is hard to plan for when we’re going to start when we don’t know when we are going to start and that impacts the schedule. There’s a lot of options and all this depends on when we’re able to start and really if we’re able to start.
“From the players point of view, we all want to play, obviously. But, we want to make sure it is safe and that it’s the right time to do it.”
The last thing MLB can afford is another start and stop. If and when the players return, it has to be for good. Otherwise, any hope for a season would definitely be lost.
Mixed feelings to quarantined proposal
So far, the league-wide reaction to the Arizona proposal has been mixed.
Some players, like Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, are optimistic it can work. Others, like Brett Anderson, who is Yelich’s teammate with the Brewers, believe there’s no way players will leave their family behind for four or five months amid a pandemic.
Overall, there’s a feeling that too much has to go right for a quarantined season to work. Unfortunately, we’ve also reached a point where a quarantined season might truly be the best scenario. In that case, Yelich’s 50/50 call might be more optimistic than realistic.
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