Why haven’t we begun playing baseball and softball yet?
I thought, and still think (to a certain extent) that Governor Walz did a pretty good job of following the adage “Better to be safe than sorry.” I was OK with that.
However, at this point, nearly all outdoor sports and activities should be allowed.
While early on there were a lot of questions and uncertainties about COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus, or whatever anyone calls it, now we know a few things that tell us that being outside is fine.
We have learned in the past few months of quarantine or stay at home with limited interaction, that social distancing and face mask use works.
We have also learned, and if you don’t believe me, check out CDC.gov, that the risk of getting the virus outside is minimal.
Experts have drawn the conclusion that the most effective way to spread this virus is not by touching something an infected person has, but sustained inhalation of droplets from an infected person via their cough, sneeze or talking.
However, that exposure is far less likely outside, where even a slight breeze or a social distance will dilute those droplets quickly.
It has been said by several medical experts that one needs to ingest likely hundreds or even thousands of infected droplets to contract the virus, just a few, and our immune system will easily fight it off.
At one time early on in the pandemic, we thought that touching a shared surface, such as a baseball, bat or helmet, with an infected person would be a surefire way to get the virus.
However, No. 1 that doesn’t appear to be an effective way to spread this virus, and No. 2, even if one were to come into contact with a surface that contained such a virus, as long as they were able to wash or sanitize their hands prior to picking their nose or sticking their finger in their mouth, they’ll most likely not contract the virus.
All this is to say that baseball and softball have been rendered pretty safe.
I mean, for 50% of the game, players are 20-plus feet apart.
If umpires are uncomfortable umping from behind the plate as usual, I’m sure leagues, especially youth leagues, will allow behind the mound umpiring.
Of course, anyone who has a high risk factor such as a compromised immune system, a history of respiratory illness or advanced age, should probably shy away from these gatherings, but that is for all things, not just sporting events.
Now, the reason I’m fighting so hard for this is that, one, I would really like to cover sports again, but two, and more importantly, organizations, clubs and leagues that put on these games often depend on the income from concession sales, gate fees and donations from these events to be able to maintain their facilities, pay for travel and pay for equipment to continue to play.
And believe me, of anyone, if I thought this was unsafe, I would not support it.
If one is worried about being able to socially distance at a little league game, Victory League game or a 19U softball game, most of these events are attended by fewer than 100 or 200 people, including the two teams, and they take place at stadiums or fields that could house likely four to five times that.
If a bar or restaurant is now allowed to house at 25% capacity, indoors mind you, and other businesses can allow up to 50%, why wouldn’t an outdoor event at likely under 20% capacity, where people (team included) can easily socially distance, not be allowed to play?
I just don’t get it.
— Tyler Ohmann has been the sports editor for the Morrison County Record for more than five years.