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Even With an Early Outbreak, Baseball Still Has a Path Forward

The league and the union were always aware of the possibility that the virus could penetrate their 30-man rosters. That is why each team keeps another 30 players at an alternate training site. An outbreak like Miami’s, which compromises competitive integrity and threatens the health of those around them, calls for extreme measures — and a weeklong pause qualifies.

But with no new positives among players on any other team — at least not yet, as the Phillies await further test results — baseball still has a realistic path forward to completing the season.

It is, after all, a business, one of many that is trying to cope with this crisis. The minor leagues, the Cape Cod League, and many youth leagues are dark this summer. M.L.B. has the resources to try, and millions of fans are grateful.

“I think over the course of history you’ve seen that sports helps heal people and situations,” the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich said in an interview in April, a few weeks into the long shutdown. “So, hopefully, when we come out of this, whoever is the first sport back can play a part in that and start helping normalize things and get people back to a normal way of life.”

That is a convenient talking point for a $10 billion industry, to be sure, and not everyone will agree. But for the many who have welcomed baseball as a tiny slice of normal life amid the pandemic, it just might ring true.

Things always seem to get worse in 2020, and maybe the Marlins’ outbreak is only the start. If baseball causes the virus to spread further, the league must know when to stop. Let’s hope it does not come to that.

And in the meantime, think of the end of the movie “Moneyball,” as Brad Pitt’s character drives away from the Oakland Coliseum while listening to a tape of his daughter singing. She didn’t have a pandemic in mind, of course, but the spirit applies:

“I’m so scared, but I don’t show it. I can’t figure it out, it’s bringing me down. I know I’ve got to let it go — and just enjoy the show.”

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