I arrived here on Oahu in February as the administrator of the presidential primary for the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

As I enter my fourth month here on this now delayed (but soon to be completed) project, I’ve gained appreciation for how well the state of Hawaii, and all Hawaii residents, have risen to the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Now Hawaii has an opportunity to help America reopen the national past-time.

Major League Baseball is struggling to find a way to restart the season without fans. Some would argue this is not important in the grand scheme of things.

While precautions need to be taken, we should remember that during World War II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt encouraged baseball to continue, writing, “I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.”

The Boston Red Sox playing the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, May 16, 2016. The MLB should hold the COVID-19 interrupted season in Hawaii.

Flickr: Jeffrey Zeldman

Restoring baseball to our televisions, radios, and streaming devices will reintroduce a sense of normalcy. It will require quarantining, social distancing, and use of testing resources, but frankly, the number of people it will encourage to stay home makes it worth it.

The problem so far is that the options they are considering, Arizona alone, Arizona and Florida, or Arizona, Florida, and Texas, are all flawed. None of those states has done a particularly great job of being proactive throughout this. All of them have extremely hot and uncomfortable conditions, and Florida and Texas get frequent summer storms.

Lots Of Empty Hotels

What can Hawaii offer to MLB?

Perfect weather, an infection rate that seems to be under control, a service-based economy looking for a way to gradually restart in a controlled way, and plenty of vacant hotels for players and staff to quarantine in.

And, with all due respect to the other states mentioned, if you have to quarantine somewhere, here is about as good as it gets.

Yes, some baseball fields (no fans, so stadiums not required) will have to be upgraded, but with the time difference, games can be played in the late morning or early afternoon, so for most fields lights would not be needed, and these upgraded fields will be a gift left to Hawaii after MLB bids aloha.

Hawaii has an opportunity to help America reopen the national past-time.

What can MLB offer to Hawaii?

First, this is a reasonable way to begin gradually reopening the service and tourism industry. Instead of a risky all or nothing restart, what better way to gradually ramp up than with tightly controlled, well-tested visitors.

Additionally, the beautiful images broadcast live from Hawaii is the best free publicity the tourism industry could ask for once Hawaii is open for business.

And one more thing — the total payroll for MLB was supposed to be $4 billion in 2020. Even with the abbreviated season, payroll revenue will be between $2-3 billion, and that is money that can be subject to Hawaii state income tax.

I encourage Hawaii’s elected officials, who have done a great job managing this crisis so far, to reach out to MLB and let them know that Hawaii should be their field(s) of dreams for 2020.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

About the Author