I'm disappointed that comment is surprising, because I've tried to say here in the chat and in multiple columns that there's a great chance of the bottom dropping out on this plan.
Baseball spent a lot of time sparring about who gets paid what in a shortened season, but it has just now moved on to the real fight, the one against the virus.
Opt-outs won't be the reason the season is not finished.
The virus could be.
And yes, it's probably smart to bet on that being the case.
Ideally, baseball does a good job of keeping the virus from becoming a bigger story than the baseball season.
There are a lot of ways that could be derailed.
Some of the ways?
The plan to keep the virus out does not work.
The plan to keep the virus out does work, but enough people vital to the game -- players, managers, coaches -- encounter the virus away from the ballpark and have to step away that the competition starts lacking its most important people.
Someone within the game -- doesn't have to be a player -- gets severely ill and that changes the conversation about if this is worth it or not.
Rob Manfred will have to decide how much is too much.
Hopefully he doesn't have to.
But considering the difficulty involved here, Olney's prediction is not outlandish, at all.
Another thing: This is not about some misguided fear that the coronavirus is going to kill a bunch of young, healthy baseball players. The facts don't support that. But not everyone involved in the process of making baseball work is young and healthy, and there seems to be a lack of attention being paid to some significant unknowns about how the competition side of this could be watered down to the point of not making sense. Pro athletes need to be at their top shape and health to compete at the highest level. If one tests positive, he's removed from the situation until he's cleared to return. Even if he's asymptomatic, that time away is detrimental to performance. If he tests positive and gets physically sick, the road back to top performance gets a lot longer, as some COVID patients who have recovered report a long delay until they feel "fully healthy" once again, and these are people who are not required to run, jump, swing for their salary.
It's mostly going to come down to how diligent baseball is away from the ballpark, and there are reasons to wonder if the large group will be as diligent as needed. And how well the plan works if they are.