Advice for MLB fans seeking ticket refunds amid coronavirus

First of all, hold onto those tickets, or those StubHub emails, or whatever your proof of purchase might be that you planned to attend a Major League Baseball game in 2020.

After that? Just hold on, period. Hang in there through the uncertainty. Some certainty should arrive next month. We’ll insist on it, right?

The MLB season would turn three weeks old Thursday if not for the COVID-19 shutdown, and each passing day brings a slew of newly postponed contests. Which in turns creates hundreds of thousands of unused tickets that instantly go into limbo.

They’re in limbo because these games technically aren’t canceled. Rather, they’re postponed, because commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t officially ruled out the possibility, even as it seems fully impossible, of a standard, 162-game season.

That stance protects baseball legally. Morally … let’s face it, the optics of teams keeping their customers’ money when many of those customers are enduring economic hardships — and we all can see that a full schedule ain’t happening — aren’t great.

It doesn’t sound as though teams are getting slammed by fans demanding their money back. Understanding rules the day, for now. Clubs’ sales teams, working remotely and with no inventory to sell, are checking in on longtime season-ticket holders, a sound business tactic. Many fans — preoccupied with concerns about health, finance or some combination of the two — surely wish they had the time to sweat the fate of their tickets.

The fate of 2020 baseball, like virtually everything else on the planet, remains very much in question. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the universally respected infectious disease expert who’s part of the White House’s coronavirus task force, conducted a Snapchat interview in which he opined that sports could return to the United States if they are played in empty stadiums and with squads quarantined at hotels.

That’s why MLB and Players Association officials have discussed the “Arizona plan” — with all 30 clubs placed in a Grand Canyon State biosphere and utilizing the many baseball fields in the Phoenix area, without crowds — most seriously of all scenarios. Whether the coast could clear enough for paying fans to attend games, or for teams besides the Diamondbacks to return to their homes sometime this season, must be filed as yet another unknown, though let’s be honest and acknowledge that New York looks like the locale least likely to host a sporting event in 2020.

Of course, if an entire schedule occurs in empty ballparks, that would result in zero tickets sold and compel MLB to formulate a refund/credit plan similar to there being no season at all.

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