The 2020 White Sox schedule will feature these nine opponents in more than 60 games.

Baseball finally has a plan for a 2020 season, but as everyone should know in this country, a pandemic doesn’t care about our plans.

After a months-long money fight that grabbed headlines and dominated the conversation about baseball’s efforts to kick off a 2020 season, the biggest threat to the campaign in March remains the biggest threat to the campaign as we move into July: COVID-19 Pandemic progress.

The coronavirus has come into the sport, with four teams reporting positive tests last Friday, prompting the league to close all teams’ spring training facilities to perform deep cleanings and demand that no one be able to return before testing negative. According to a report, there were 40 positive tests in baseball last week alone.

Despite the fact that baseball’s return was announced Tuesday night, there was a report from a positive All Star.

That itself should illustrate the enormous challenge facing not only baseball but also American professional sports in general during these times. The Philadelphia Phillies had strict measures at their facility in Clearwater, Florida, and still experienced an outbreak: eight positive tests between players and staff.

The league and union agreed health and safety protocols Tuesday night, allowing commissioner Rob Manfred to implement a 60-game season. While there were reports of new details, such as which players would be allowed to opt out of the season and still be paid, the full complement of protocols was not available when the league announced that the season would begin.

Earlier in the negotiation process with the union, Major League Baseball proposed health and safety measures worth 60 pages, showing how seriously they were taking the matter. There were plans to ban those five crashes, Gatorade coolers, mound visits and spitting, and trying to force social distancing in the fields, shelters and clubs.

But those proposals contained their own red flags. The league’s testing plan required non-daily tests that, in most cases, would not yield results for 24 hours. That created a potential scenario where an asymptomatic player could come to the ballpark, get tested, play a game, expose the value of two teams of players and staff, get on a plane, travel to another city, and perform in another. baseball stadium before knowing that it tested positive.

The league did not propose to abide by the contact location guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which they recommend to those who have had close contact with an infected person in quarantine. The league, not wanting to shut down a team or the season as a whole, did not propose requiring teammates of players to test positive in quarantine.

Similarly, after some players objected to the notion of being limited to hotels and stadiums when a possible quarantine season was discussed earlier this year, the league did not propose strict limits to the player on the road. They were simply encouraged to limit their movement in highway cities.

It is unknown whether or not these proposals evolved into something different in the agreed protocols.

RELATED: What Protocols Entered into the MLB and MLBPA Health and Safety Agreement?

And then there is what is currently happening outside the walls of the major league stadiums.

While the league held firm for a long time when the regular season ended in late September and the postseason ended in late October, for fear of a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, the number of cases is increasing in many states across the country. As of Tuesday morning, weekly cases increased in 12 states that host a combined total of 20 major league teams, two-thirds of the league.

Put it all together, and it’s clear that without extraordinarily strict preventive measures, like the quarantined season idea, that the NBA is trying in Florida, where the number of cases is dramatically increasing, the league has a gigantic challenge ahead of trying to keep players, coaches, and staff members of all kinds safe and healthy as they play games at 29 ballparks across the country and potentially one in Canada, though there’s an open question of where the Toronto Blue Jays will end up playing their games at home.

While the positive tests shut down the spring training facilities over the weekend, baseball will apparently try to keep everything running if the positive tests work during the season. However, without quarantining people, how will the league ensure that a positive test or two does not become an outbreak in one or more stadiums?

How can you ensure that the virus does not spread while dozens of people stay on planes every few days and transport them from one city to another? The number of cases is decreasing in Illinois, but what happens when the White Sox go to Michigan or the Cubs go to Wisconsin, two states where the number of cases increases?

Last week, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that baseball may not want to play beyond the month of September. The plan right now is for Major League Baseball to do exactly that, but whether the coronavirus allows the sport to get there is an unanswered question.

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