ACKERMAN: Nantz, Shildt, Mozeliak on sports, hope and optimism

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Sports. They're way down on the world's priority list right now.

But when the time is right for their return, we will welcome them with open arms. Well, maybe from six feet away.

Within the last week, I had a chance to catch up with three people I respect immensely in our business:

- Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, who just won an NL Central title, an 2019 NL Manager of the Year award, and has a team that many believe could overtake the division again with some offensive consistency.

- John Mozeliak, the team's president of baseball operations, who has been extremely busy trying navigate through an unprecedented moment in time.

- Jim Nantz, the voice of CBS Sports, who recently missed perhaps the best month in sports: the stretch from the NCAA Tournament through the Masters.

All three expressed optimism about the potential of the return of our industry. It's cautious optimism, of course.

We don't know everything about the spread of COVID-19. We're learning new things every day. We're trying to keep our families, friends and co-workers safe. We thank those who are keeping us safe: first responders, healthcare workers, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, delivery services and much more.

When will we know if it's safe enough to enjoy sports? Can we do it from a distance?

We know this: sports will play a role in healing us. They already do, in a way... just our discussion of them, our replays of them, provide distractions from the daily news of the pandemic around us.

Here's a short compilation of the responses KMOX received from Shildt, Mozeliak and Nantz on the current discussions about the immediate future of sports. By no means is there an easy answer. But just the fact that there are talks underway... should give sports fans some hope.

When the time is right, we will play games again.