Some Thoughts on “Black Thursday”

I wanted to wait a little while to write this for a couple of reasons. For one, the news on the situation needed to be confirmed. Second, I didn’t want to write a reaction-type post on something that just happened. There would have been too much raw emotion in the post.

The news of the past 24-48 hours was shocking to say the least. I think we all knew what we were dealing with before then, but now it stares us right in the face. When Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus, it was inevitable that all the major leagues would suspend play until further notice. It just had to be done, as this virus is more contagious and can be quite problematic for those with compromised immune systems. The athletes have families, and the players shouldn’t be a in a position where they are compromising their own health, and the health of those around them.

This virus won’t last forever, but for right now we have to sit and wait this time out. And it will be tough from a baseball perspective, and it will be tough not just for the fans, but also for the players, the players who love to play the game every day. But the decisions that were made yesterday affected everyone in a different matter. Professional leagues suspended play, and they’ll pick up play as soon as possible. However, collegiate players yesterday weren’t so lucky.

As you may be aware, the NCAA announced yesterday that all winter and spring championship events were cancelled, including the College World Series. That decision sent an earthquake around the collegiate world, as juniors who were looking to boost their draft stocks can no longer do so, at least not now, and some seniors may have played their final game without even knowing it.

Now some conferences haven’t ruled out the possibility of resuming playing later in 2020, but that might be difficult, since schools are closing and students are being sent home. Because of that, outside of some DII, DIII and NJCAA teams, we likely won’t be seeing much college baseball until 2021.

This decision hurt a lot, but again, it hurts the players much more than it hurts the fans or the teams looking to evaluate them. The players, due to a situation out of their control, won’t be able to play competitively due to COVID-19. Now the NCAA appears to be taking positive steps to remedy this issue. Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball reported that it’s likely that all players will not lose a year of eligibility.

Sure, there are consequences for this decision. Teams will have bloated rosters and higher costs, but those will have to be dealt with when the time comes. The NCAA got this decision right, and that’s all that matters right now. Right now, the focus on this virus, not the games we will not be able to watch. And once we get through with beating this virus, we can move on to the things we love once again.

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