Gov. Polis to MLB’s Rob Manfred: We’re ready as soon as the leagues are ready

Jared Polis (left) with Rockies owner Dick Monfort at Coors Field in 2019. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.
Jared Polis (left) with Rockies owner Dick Monfort at Coors Field in 2019. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

One week ago, we learned Major League Baseball is targeting the Fourth of July for a return to their diamonds across the country. And that sounds exciting for everyone.

Sports fans are thirsty for action, and it looks like the MLB will be the first sport to quench their thirst. And on Fourth of July weekend, nonetheless.

Maybe baseball can save the summer from the pandemic. At least, we can be hopeful.

And in terms of the Colorado Rockies, and the state of Colorado, Governor Jared Polis told MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred today we are ready to go in the Centennial State.

“We’re certainly ready as soon as the leagues are ready,” Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweeted out. “I talked to the (MLB) commissioner today. I think their protocols look really good and we’re certainly excited to get them going as soon as they’re ready to go.”

But, it seems the league is farther away from being ready to go than would be ideal.

The league recently sent the MLB Players Union a 67-page proposal which may just include more rules than the official rulebook for the game.

Players must remain six feet apart at all times, including in the dugout, and players not on the field will sit in the stands. There will be no fans, at least to start the 82-game season, and therefore there won’t be any out-of-town scores or replays, either. Players will be asked to not talk to opposing players, and if they do, to remain six feet apart. They’ll all be tested multiple times a day, including temperature tests and nasal swabs for the virus, as well. So will their families, and players will be asked to wear masks at all times when out in public and to refrain from going anywhere public, like bars, restaurants etc.

Hey, these are multi-million dollar athletes we’re talking about, and the risk of one player getting infected and spreading it to a team is high. The ask of the players is extreme, Draconian even, but those precautions will be needed if we’re to have baseball in only six weeks from now.

Tomorrow, the league and player’s union will meet to discuss how this 82-game season would look.

Some have said the league should section off the country, and have teams compete regionally. For example, the Rockies would play against their NL West rivals as well as the AL West, to limit travel. A few weeks ago, one plan was to have Phoenix be the single hub city for the entire MLB, or for Phoenix, Dallas and Tampa to be a three-hub system.

However, players don’t want to be away from their families for months on end. But, they also don’t want this year to be lost all together, either.

That will almost certainly be discussed in tomorrow’s meetings. Ideally, teams will be able to host games at their home ballparks instead of at spring training facilities. That, too, comes with some interesting logistics with states being at various places in terms of travel restrictions and more.

“The challenge to socially distance from our teammates is especially daunting and sacrifices on how we prepare will be constant,” St. Louis Cardinals reliever and union representative Andrew Miller told USA TODAY. “I know the players’ association is working right now to make sure nothing is overlooked.

“It will take time, but we will get it right.’’

If we are indeed going to have baseball this summer, and let’s hope we do, it will be thanks to thousands of people’s efforts. They will have to get it right, and not miss any detail, or one player infected player could domino and shut the league back down.

If things go as planned, spring training will begin in about one month from now and last three weeks, with the season beginning in mid-July.

Colorado Governor Polis signed off on the bill which put Prop. DD on the ballot last November, and voters passed it, making sports betting legal. He went to bat for sports once again, talking to Manfred and assuring him we’re ready to play ball.

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