While the world waits out the end of the coronavirus outbreak, Major League Baseball is trying its best to figure out a way to get its season in. Several meetings between league leaders have launched a number of ideas, but so far, MLB hasn’t landed on one it feels could definitely work. One of the newest plans floated is the league and its players playing the entire 2020 season in Japan.
ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian recently appeared on the network to talk about the Japan plan and explore just how plausible it might be. As Adam Wells of Bleacher Report explains, one source didn’t talk to Kurkjian as though this was a rough idea that still had to be filled out. His source seemed to think it was a done deal.
“The Japanese league is going to get through this faster than America’s going to get through it. The Japanese league is going to play at night and the major leagues are going to play during the day in Japanese stadiums and that’s how we are going to get this thing started.”
The baseball insider was quick to point out that he thought the idea was ridiculous, but added he thought the only way Major League Baseball is going to get a season in is if it turns to ridiculous ideas.
One of the reasons the idea of playing the season in Japan is ridiculous is that cases of COVID-19 are still increasing there. The flip side of that is the country is seeing those increases at a much slower rate than the U.S.
Japan has just over 7,200 confirmed cases and has just over 140 deaths. The U.S. is moving toward 600,000 confirmed cases and topped the 21,000 deaths mark last week. One obvious reason for the discrepancies is the difference in population size between the two countries.
Should Major League Baseball decide playing abroad is the best way to get the season in, there would be other challenges, including the idea of separating players and officials from their families for several months. There is also the issue that the Japanese professional baseball league is still not sure when they will start their own season. They did plan on starting on April 24, but have since pushed back that date and haven’t officially announced a new one.
Kurkjian did point out his source told him of the plan two weeks ago. It’s possible Major League Baseball felt things were going to be looking better in Japan than they do today.