Sean Doolittle has some questions before baseball returns

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By 106.7 The Fan

Sean Doolittle, one of the more thoughtful, articulate minds in the Nationals clubhouse, shared his reservations about baseball returning in a lengthy Twitter screed Monday.

After weeks of speculation, Major League Baseball's 30 owners finally agreed on a return-to-play proposal on Monday, and are now ready to submit it to the MLB Players Association for their approval.
Before the players even consider it, Doolittle wants to know if the following health concerns have been addressed.

Because this is a novel virus, there is still so much we don't know - including the long-term effects. On top of respiratory issues, there's been evidence of kidney, intestinal, and liver damage, as well as neurological malfunctions, blood clots & strokes. https://t.co/rXD3vJRpoH

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

Research has shown Covid-19 may cause issues with male hormone ratios - even in younger men, which could lead to fertility complications. Not ideal. Extremely suboptimal. Zero stars. https://t.co/M7JknHBmdM

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

And we've learned that you release the most virus into your environment prior to symptoms even showing. So how frequently will we be testing to stay ahead of a potential spread and to mitigate as much risk as possible? https://t.co/ITimbAdfvl

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

So how many tests do we need to safely play during a pandemic? And not just tests for players. Baseball requires a massive workforce besides the players; coaches, clubhouse staff, security, grounds crews, umpires, gameday stadium staff, TV & media...we need to protect everyone.

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

We need to consider what level of risk we're willing to assume. 80% of cases are considered mild, but what if a player, a staff member, an auxiliary worker, or a family member gets a case that's in the 20% and they develop severe symptoms or chronic issues? 1 feels like too many?

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

And if even mild cases can cause long-term health effects, will there be added healthcare benefits for players, staff and workers that will extend beyond their employment and into retirement to mitigate the unknown risks of putting on a baseball season during a pandemic?

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

Hopefully these concerns will be addressed in MLB's proposal, first and foremost: 1) what's the plan to ethically acquire enough tests? 2) what's the protocol if a player, staff member, or worker contracts the virus? We want to play. And we want everyone to stay safe.

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

Oh, pic.twitter.com/hjPeXJP4su

— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020

Any potential return proposal will need to adequately address many of the concerns Doolittle highlights above, which goes to show just how much of an uphill battle remains for professional sports before a COVID-19 vaccine of some sort becomes available.