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Elephant Rumblings: Governor Gavin Newsom says California could host sports by early June

MLB news roundup

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Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The prospect of holding a 2020 MLB season took a big step forward on Monday, as California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state is on track to begin hosting sporting events by the “first week or so in June.”

Newsom clarified that any such resumption of sports would happen without fans in the stands, and that it would come with “modifications and very prescriptive conditions.” But the bottom line is that they could start happening at all in some form, as long as current trend lines hold in the coming weeks.

The governor’s announcement came on the heels of encouraging data in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitalizations are down statewide over the last 14 days. In the Bay Area alone, the number of confirmed cases of the virus in hospitals is down more than half from its peak a month ago, reports Kellie Hwang of the S.F. Chronicle. There were no local deaths for two straight days on Sunday and Monday, for the first time since mid-March.

Of course, this is only one piece of baseball’s larger puzzle, but it’s an important one. MLB and the players union still need to hammer out the details of new safety protocols for players and personnel, to avoid a new outbreak within the sport’s population. The two sides also must face the daunting task of agreeing on economics, a topic on which they are currently diametrically opposed — each side wants the other to make significant concessions, and neither wants to budge from their current positions.

But if and when those issues are resolved, and it’s deemed safe to begin the season, there will still be the matter of where to actually play the games. There had been several creative ideas proposed to that end, but it’s starting to look like those won’t be necessary if teams are allowed to use their home ballparks. After all, California has been one of the strictest states in terms of pandemic lockdown, and Newsom was joined on Monday by similar announcements from the governors of New York and Texas. Those three states combined are home to nearly one-third of all MLB teams.

Will we get baseball in 2020? That’s still impossible to say. But if we do, there’s a good chance it will at least happen in the normal location in Oakland, at the Coliseum.

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