Why doesnít America test like South Korea? Keep the economy partially open like Sweden? Control behavior like Singapore? Keep tabs on everybodyís cellphones like Communist China?
Nah. If we want to learn from othersí response to the pandemic, our best course is to emulate the one country that, crisis be damned, enjoys Americaís pastime ó Free China.
As Ira Stoll noted first in these pages, America should not let a summer go to waste without baseball. After all, the game survived our largest crises ó financial ruin, world wars, September 11.
(Mr. Stoll, a Red Sox fan, failed to mention an extra incentive to conduct a great 2020 Major League Baseball season: this year the Yankees have a real chance to get to the World Series and win it.)
For the time being ó and until the leaguesí bigwigs come up with a scheme to comply with Anthony Fauciís guidelines (the good doctor recommends no-fans, Olympic village-style cordoned areas for players, umpires, broadcasters, groundskeepers, etc.) ó we have Taiwan.
The islandís Chinese Professional Baseball League, Time magazine reports, opened the season April 11. Robots root for the leagueís five teams, as human fans are banned from the stadiums. One team, the Rakuten Monkeys, live-streams its home games complete with English-language commentary. Baseball-starved American fans can watch (at 5:30 am New York time) on Twitter @ElevenSportsTW.
As of yet, Taiwan is alone in playing Americaís game. Baseball in South Korea, Japan, and Latin America is still absent. Our MLBís latest scheme ó all teams play an abbreviated season in Arizona, where the essentials get tested often and live together in hotels ó is yet to materialize.
Even if played, an asterisk will surely accompany all 2020 win-loss records. The World Series, if itís even played, wonít carry the same weight. And can an MLB season even start without minor league play? Also, the Metsí owner, Fred Wilpon, proposes pay cuts for the gameís star players (good luck).
All true, and all are considerations to be heavily pondered. MLB, though, isnít Washington or the UN. Itís a commercial enterprise and a national treasure. Itís expected to fulfill its responsibility to the nation with some competence. Enough with the bickering. Play ball.