In rounding up all the various iterations of restart plans and rumors for Major League Baseball last week, I never once considered what can now only be termed “the Trevor Plouffe plan.”
The former Twins third baseman put himself at the forefront of current MLB news late Monday afternoon when he tweeted some pretty specific details about a baseball plan to restart: “Want some good baseball news?? I just heard from multiple sources that on June 10th, Spring Training 2 will start. July 1st will be Opening Day and all teams will be playing at their home ballparks.”
There are no indications who the sources are, nor is Plouffe anywhere near the regular rotation of MLB news-breakers.
But to a certain degree, it doesn’t really matter. Like so many other things seem to be these days — coronavirus-related or not — this isn’t so much a question of true or false but rather how much you want to believe it’s true. It’s certainly believable, and it’s something most baseball fans would like to believe (insomuch as a truncated season with no fans qualifies as good news these days).
Various plans have seemed to target early July as a likely start date for baseball — including a July 4 date discussed in a roundtable of writers from the Athletic.
But as for Plouffe’s specific assertions? You can attempt to debunk some or all of them immediately, as baseball writer Keith Law did about 90 minutes after Plouffe’s tweet.
“There’s no proposed date for the MLB season to start. That rumor running around today is false. Sorry,” Law tweeted.
It’s also plausible to think Law is wrong. More importantly, it’s impossible these days to suppress an idea that sounds good and steers us anywhere near a return to normalcy.
By late (late, late) Monday, after I had stuck with ESPN through a rain delay during their initial Korean Baseball broadcast, Karl Ravech and Jeff Passan even addressed the Plouffe tweet. The conclusion was to treat it more or less as a plausible rumor, which felt about right.
But the fact that it was being addressed tells you something. And that the game was being broadcast at all — and that, judging by Twitter, enough of us were starved enough for baseball to stay up to watch a game that started around 12:30 a.m. local time — tells you even more.
Perhaps this quote from Phillies manager Joe Girardi sums it up best. He went on the radio Tuesday and was asked about the Plouffe tweet.
“I’ve heard some chatter about that as well,” Girardi said when asked about what Plouffe reported Monday. “I still think it really comes down to ... we’re at the mercy of our federal and state government. I mean that’s what we’re at the mercy of. We have to make sure states are open, and we have to make sure that there are plenty of tests and we’re not endangering anyone, and once we figure those things out I think we’ll be back. But God, that would be great if we could be back by then, wouldn’t it?”