There’s a lot of pressure on MLB to decide what happens with the regular season immediately. Now that spring training games are likely to be suspended — again, the right move, though a few days late — it’s OK to take a breath and learn more about the situation. It doesn’t matter whether the regular season is delayed 12 days out instead of 14 days out. Chances are, things will continue to get worse — much worse — before they get better. Chances seem pretty good that the start of the 2020 baseball season will be delayed, and the season might be shortened. It’s almost hard to imagine that not happening. But it’s also OK to act based on facts and information rather than panic, and the best way to make that happen is to wait a few days to act. Three days ago, sitting in front of his locker inside the Astros clubhouse at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Josh Reddick stuck out his elbow. “We’re doing this now,” he said, with a grin on his face. Three days ago, the elbow tap had replaced the traditional interview introduction handshake. This was a precaution taken to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus in baseball, and it seems so quaint now. The world has changed a lot in three days, not for the better. Spring training will reportedly be suspended shortly, and that’s the right move.Announcement expected shortly that MLB will be suspending operations. More details to come.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 12, 2020What’s next? We’ll get to that in a minute. MORE: Current Opening Day schedule for all 30 MLB teamsBut continuing business as usual would have been wildly, recklessly irresponsible. There had to be a full stop, starting immediately. Teams can continue to prepare, but in their own facilities. Minor league players have arrived, and there are more than enough bodies to play intrasquad games and prepare for the start of the season, whenever that might arrive. This decision wasn’t just about the safety of the players, of course. Let’s be clear: In the big picture, with a global pandemic happening, players do not matter any more than the fans in the stands. This precaution had to be about the people who were still gathering in large numbers to see their favorite teams play. As long as the stadiums were open and games were being played, they were going to mingle on the concourses, sort through shirts in the team shop and stand in lines at the concession stands. Even with hand sanitizer stations around the ballparks and bathroom sinks available for hand washing, things were being touched and the virus was potentially being spread. One tidbit: I walked around the facility this morning to speak with fans, and no one wanted me to use their name. It’s almost as if they know they shouldn’t be here. The overarching opinion was that if MLB think it’s fine for them to attend, they’ll attend. So here we are.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) March 12, 2020Here’s the thing: We have no idea how many people in the U.S. actually have the coronavirus. Numbers of confirmed cases remain low because it’s been nearly impossible for regular citizens to get tested. Chances are, as tests are finally made readily available — a massive failing of the government and health care system in our country — in the United States, numbers will skyrocket. We don’t know that for sure, but it’s not a large leap in logic.But wouldn’t we rather have a massive overreaction, where some games get canceled, than a massive underreaction, where the virus spreads rapidly at spring training games and thousands and thousands people contract the virus, leading to unnecessary deaths? The question facing Major League Baseball: What are they going to do next? While baseball fans wait for decisions on the regular season, the rest of the sporting world has sprung into action. Two NBA players tested positive for COVID-19, and the NBA has suspended its season. The NCAA has announced its signature tournament — March Freaking Madness — will be played in front of empty arenas, and speculation is rampant that it might not be played at all. The Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and pretty much every league aside from the Big East have canceled their tournaments. Leagues across the world have suspended their seasons; the list is long and growing. Baseball is in a bit of a unique situation, though. The biggest difference between MLB and other American sports is this: The baseball regular season doesn’t start until March 26, exactly two weeks from today. It’s OK for MLB to delay its decision — for a few days, at least — on what to do with Opening Day and the weeks and months that follow.Things have changed so rapidly on an hour-by-hour basis lately that it’s hard to even imagine what things might look like in a week. Think about how much happened just on Wednesday night. The NCAA announced its tournament will be played in arenas without fans. Tom Hanks announced that he had tested positive for the virus. NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive too. The NBA shut down its season. That all happened within about an hour. MORE: Every sporting event canceled because of coronavirusThink about how much more we know now than when Reddick offered his elbow tap instead of a handshake.
0Shares0000Eden Hazard struck three times in a virtuoso display against Cardiff © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Sep 15 – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri hailed Eden Hazard as the best player in Europe after the Belgian’s hat-trick inspired a 4-1 victory over Cardiff on Saturday to maintain the Italian coach’s perfect Premier League start.However, Sarri believes Hazard can be even more prolific if he preserves his energy more to make the difference in the final third. “I thought that Hazard was one of the best players in Europe. But now I change my mind because maybe he is the best,” said Sarri of the man crowned the second-best player at the World Cup this summer.Hazard struck twice in seven minutes just before half-time to cancel out Sol Bamba’s early shock for the hosts at Stamford Bridge before completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot to take his tally for the season to five goals in just three starts.But Sarri wants his star man to spend more time closer to the opposition goal rather than dropping deep to get attacks started.“Hazard can improve more. I think he can spend less energy than now at 50 or 60 metres from the opposition goal,” added the former Napoli boss.“I told him… for me you can score 40 goals but you have to spend less energy. You have to play in the last 25 metres.”And Hazard hailed the freedom Sarri’s set-up has offered him to get forward and try to improve on his best ever tally of 19 goals for a season in English football.“(He) just wants us to play and to find space between the lines so then Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Cesc Fabregas can find us,” said Hazard.“We have a lot of freedom on the pitch, and at the moment when we try and do something, it’s coming off.”– Unlikely title challenge –Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes Eden Hazard is the best player in Europe. The Belgian scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Cardiff © AFP / Glyn KIRKChelsea rebuffed interest from European champions Real Madrid for Hazard after the player himself declared an interest in moving on after the World Cup.And that resilience could yet yield an unlikely title challenge after finishing 30 points adrift of Manchester City last season.Willian’s sumptuous strike for Chelsea’s fourth edged the Blues ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table on goal difference with City just two points further back.But Sarri insists last season’s champions and Champions League finalists remain the benchmark for his side.“My target is to be the best team in England, but not in one month. Maybe one season, maybe a little more but our target is this.“At the moment, for me, in my opinion, Liverpool and Manchester City are better than us.”The feeling of being outclassed is one Cardiff may become accustomed to, having failed to significantly strengthen over the summer on their return to the top flight.Neil Warnock’s men have picked up just two points in 0-0 draws with a man advantage against Newcastle and Huddersfield from their opening five games.“We have got to learn quickly because these top teams punish you,” said Warnock.Cardiff couldn’t have asked for a better start when a well-worked Joe Ralls free-kick was headed across goal by Sean Morrison and bundled in at the back post by Bamba.However, they had no answer to Hazard’s trickery as he dummied a ball into the path of Olivier Giroud and then fired the Frenchman’s return pass low into the far corner.Hazard had the help of a deflection to put Chelsea in front from close range and gave the home side breathing space from the spot after Willian was felled by Bamba.Moments later Willian capped the rout with his own moment of magic with a wonderful curling effort from 20 yards that bent into the top corner.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)