Yadir Drake with the pretty swing

To Watch or Not to Watch

Anyone who writes about baseball in the year 2020 finds themselves in an interesting place. Specifically, those of us writing about baseball in the Americas are stuck in-between a rock and a hard place. The question we are faced with is whether to watch or not to watch? Do we watch and write about something that most likely shouldn’t be taking place?

When professional baseball resumed 2020 play there was no such conundrum. The leagues that opened up play were from countries that took the Coronavirus seriously. They had enacted numerous safety measures and taken the steps to make sure that not only could they play baseball without fans in the stands but that they could change that last fact sooner rather than later. There’s no trepidation present when it comes to covering the Chinese Professional Baseball League because Taiwan has done such a great job of stopping the spread of the virus throughout their country.

The opposite is true from Canada all the way down to Chile, the response of the countries that make up the Americas has been lacking. Some, like Cuba and Venezuela, have done better than others. Still, because of their close proximity to the United States, even their best efforts were compromised. If resuming pro baseball in Taiwan in April felt safe the other end of the spectrum comes to mind as the Americas get ready to play professionally yet again.

The fact is that the Coronavirus is still raging out of control throughout the collective Americas. There’s no reason that baseball should be played in countries that are still seeing daily increases in the number of positive tests. Yet, we are days away from the start of baseball in America, with Mexico following not that far behind. At this point it doesn’t matter what any of us think, the baseball will be taking place. In the case of unaffiliated leagues throughout the Americas, there will be fans in the stands. None of the leagues in this part of the world can afford to put on a season without fans in the stands. The question that needs to be continually asked is whether they can afford to have a season with fans in the stands?

There will be baseball taking place, it may be slightly different than the regular seasons we have grown accustomed to, but it will still be baseball. If it is taking place and we know that it is unsafe does it make it wrong for us to watch? I make a small amount of money off of this site, is it wrong of me to watch and write about leagues where I know the safety of the fans is being compromised? My girlfriend and I have a number of tickets to our local unaffiliated team and we have had numerous discussions about whether or not we should even go to the games. In the end, I think we are leaning towards not going and that is all due to safety concerns. If I feel that way when my own safety is in play then how is it justifiable for me to watch and write about baseball where the safety of others is up in the air?

I don’t have any answers to the questions I’ve posted today. I’ve never claimed to be perfect or to be the moral guiding post for the unaffiliated baseball world. I’m honestly not sure what I will end up doing, but I know there is a high likelihood that there will be articles on this site about leagues from the Americas in 2020. There’s a part of me that still feels that if unaffiliated baseball is taking place then I need to give it the time of day. This year I’m not sure if that’s the right call and that is yet another new normal in a post-Coronavirus baseball world.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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