Rockies' Charlie Blackmon Says 'This Country Needs Baseball' Amid COVID-19

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 12, 2020

Colorado Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon (19) in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Colorado Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon understands the public safety concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but he is hoping Major League Baseball can figure out how to safely begin its 2020 season soon.

Blackmon said on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday:

"A lot of players have concerns. I'm one of them. I don't want to get sick, and I don't want to bring people together such that other people get sick, especially those that are at risk.

"But at the same time, I'm not playing, I'm not getting paid, and neither are a lot of people that work at the stadium. There's a lot of people that depend on Major League Baseball for their livelihood. But bigger than that, this country needs baseball."

MLB's Opening Day was meant to take place March 26.

MLB owners are expected to propose a plan for the 2020 season Tuesday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported earlier Monday:

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

MLB owners have approved a proposal for the 2020 season to present to the players’ union, source tells The Athletic. Meeting expected between union and league tomorrow.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

MLB revenue-sharing plan is a nonstarter for the players’ association. Union head Tony Clark: “A system that restricts player pay based on revenues is a salary cap, period.” Story with @EvanDrellich: https://t.co/4TXrKHAMhF

Sean Doolittle, a relief pitcher for the reigning champion Washington Nationals, tweeted a lengthy thread about what he will be looking for in the plan:

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

Bear with me, but it feels like we've zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season. Here are some things I'll be looking for in the proposal...

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

Covid-19 patients often develop lung scarring, or 'ground-glass opacities'. These were found even in asymptomatic patients, and because the virus often affects both lungs, can cause permanent damage in some cases. Definitely a concern for an athlete. https://t.co/M7JknHBmdM

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

And we've learned that you release the most virus into your environment prior to symptoms even showing. So how frequently will we be testing to stay ahead of a potential spread and to mitigate as much risk as possible? https://t.co/ITimbAdfvl

Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle @whatwouldDOOdo

So how many tests do we need to safely play during a pandemic? And not just tests for players. Baseball requires a massive workforce besides the players; coaches, clubhouse staff, security, grounds crews, umpires, gameday stadium staff, TV & media...we need to protect everyone.

Doolittle also cited a piece from Rosenthal published Monday about major league players with underlying health concerns who are at higher risk if they contract COVID-19.

"It's definitely scary," Rockies outfielder David Dahl, who had his spleen removed in 2015, told Rosenthal. "My immune system is pretty bad. But I trust the medical experts, the guys with the Rockies, everyone who will be involved that if we do come back and play, we’ll be safe and taking the right precautions to make sure we aren’t at a greater risk."

Results for an antibody test administered to MLB employees were relayed Sunday:

The Athletic MLB @TheAthleticMLB

A Stanford study that tested 5,603 MLB employees for COVID-19 antibodies found a positive rate of 0.7%, lower than expected. Angels, Mets and Yankees employees had the highest rates, though still lower than those counties overall. More from @molly_knight: https://t.co/CHXKulbvF6

Molly Knight @molly_knight

Everybody is doing their best. MLB wants to play ball this year. They are adjusting and reacting to ever changing information about when it might be safe to resume certain activities just like the rest of us.

No major American professional sports league has started its season or resumed since suspending operations in mid-March. But some Major League Soccer clubs and NBA teams have allowed training to resume at facilities.