Well, yesterday saw a whole lot of baseball news come from every single direction starting in the early afternoon. At first it was that the Philadelphia Phillies has multiple players and coaches test positive for COVID-19, and that it had extended beyond those numbers as it also reached some family members of those players and coaches. Then we started getting more information about other teams having players that have tested positive around Major League Baseball. And almost like someone flipped a switch, the entire sports world started seeing similar reports, topped off with the Clemson football team having 23 players having tested positive at this point. The NHL saw their training camps shut down in several cities after they had positive tests with a few teams.

As the day went along, more information started coming out from Major League Baseball on several different fronts. Getting away from the pandemic for a second, the owners have decided that they are not going to be responding to the players proposal for 70 games and sharing of playoff revenues.

That led to the MLBPA to release this statement:

MLB has informed the Association that it will not repond to our last proposal and will not play more than 60 games. Our Executive Board will convene in the near future to determine next steps. Importantly, Players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.

There’s a lot going on here. This past week the players said “when and where”, challenging the owners to set the schedule to a number of games that fell into the “attempt to play the most games possible” section of the March agreement that would keep the terms of the contract valid and not leave an opening for the players to file a grievance. Instead the owners offered 60 games in a proposal rather than implementing the season – trying to buy time so that they could ultimately just “run out the clock” to implement the number of games that they want.

By not responding to the players proposal is just another step in delaying things to get to a date in which they can try to avoid a grievance that could cost them, by some estimates, a billion dollars, instead of just play 70 games which would cost them about $300 million beyond their 60-game proposal. How fun. The business of baseball is ridiculously stupid.

But let’s get back to something even less fun than the business of baseball. The pandemic. Things are going in the wrong direction in many states. And while there are some conspiracy theorists out there in the baseball world who believe the owners are trying to just use this as a way to cancel the season, this particular writer doesn’t buy that. This particular writer has also been wrong before.

TJ Quinn of ESPN is reporting this morning that COVID-19 concerns are a real threat to the season. Which, of course it is, that’s the reason baseball hasn’t been happening for the last three months and a week.

But, Quinn isn’t exactly off-base, either. Yesterday saw rumors that baseball was at least considering a plan that would include sending everyone to California to try and play instead of having everyone at their own ballparks and traveling across the country (or at least their portion of the country). This was first reported in The Wall Street Journal by Jared Diamond and Ben Cohen. The players quickly went against that plan in April when it was spoken of in Arizona (and then an Arizona/Florida/Texas hybrid).

Late last night Major League Baseball decided to shut down the team facilities in both Arizona and Florida according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

This only applied to the spring training sites, not the big league facilities in those states where some teams have players working out at.

There’s a whole lot going on. And there’s a whole lot of stuff to still be figured out as to whether we’re going to have Major League Baseball this summer or not. Money. Sickness. Risk. Reward. All of it. Us? Well, we’re just in a waiting pattern still, trying to see how it’s all going to play out.

30 Responses

  1. Jefferson J Reed

    I’m rather optimistic looking down the road. Many vaccines are in the process of being developed. When an approved one is here, we don’t know, but it will happen. New leadership will arrive seven months from today, the country will be stabilized, and we’ll eventually arrive at a new normal which will include baseball and the Reds.

    • Colorado Red

      Not true at all.
      Most people who get the virus do not show any assumptions.
      So, we should shut down gas stations, walmart, etc.
      No we have to live.
      I would let any player with pre-existing conditions or who lived with someone, who has it opt out.
      Else, it is up to them.

    • Doug Gray

      Some people who show no “outward” symptoms are still showing pneumonia like symptoms in their lungs and even seeing lung damage despite having shown no symptoms.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, some of them might actually stay home. So right there, it’s going to protect some of them. And no, their significant others won’t necessarily go to salons or krogers, and their kids won’t necessarily go over to friends houses or sleepovers.

      Some people actually can just avoid doing those things.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m talking about what’s actually going on. There are actual people right now who aren’t just pretending like nothing is happening and living like it’s June of 2019. There are a lot of people pretending nothing’s happening, sure. But the idea that everyone is just living life as if there’s nothing going on just isn’t reality, either. I can promise you that there are Major League players out there who aren’t walking around the grocery store, or going to Starbucks and getting their coffee or having sleepovers.

    • Doug Gray

      Players who are at the spring training sites are testing positive.

      But again, my point wasn’t that literally everyone was just going to not go out, it was that some will choose to not go out. So MLB not having a season will protect THOSE families.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s the plan for now. But what happens if you get a situation like the Clemson football team and all of a sudden you have 20 something players test positive?

    • greenmtred

      Of course the players, if the season is cancelled, aren’t going to self-quarantine indefinitely. But the type of exposure matters a lot. Brief, passing contact–in the aisle of grocery store, for instance–isn’t very likely to make you sick. A locker room with 25 players in it could be a very different matter. It might be possible to address the problems to the point where the risk is minimal, but the risk is not confined to the players: It extends to people they contact, and people whom those people contact, and so on.

  2. greenmtred

    How was that post anti U.S.? The fact is that we lead the world, easily, in cases and deaths, despite having an advanced public health system.

  3. centerfield

    Mid-summer day and no baseball…ugh. I have to agree with CI3J, just shut it down now. Announce the season will not take place due to the health concerns and move the public’s eye away from the labor/money issues. Better optics for both the owners and players. Try again in 2021. That’s my ruling.

  4. Stock

    I have been saying for months the only way to play this season is if everyone is quarantined for the entire season. If you have no contact with anyone other than players and others who have been tested and do not have Covid 19 then you should not get it.

    If the players are not willing to be quarantined there will be no playoffs.

  5. Stock

    I really hope a vaccine is in our near future. However, Covid 19 is a nasal virus and in the history of our world no vaccine has ever been created for a nasal virus. Will Covid 19 be the first? Maybe. But it is also possible this will be with us the next 2-5 years.

  6. Don

    since we know that there is no accurate data from China on testing results or the actual death, no objective comparison between China and the US can be made. That is the objective fact.

    Since the CCP prevented internal country travel from Wuhan in December but allowed international travel from Wuhan to still occur, the CCP obviously tried to spread this around the world. No other objective conclusion can be made.

    The goal of the US (and most all countries) plan was to flatten the infection curve to not overwhelm the health care system so treatment is available to those who needed it.

    The same number of people will contract the virus just over a longer period of time. Over time medical science will figure out treatments as occurs on almost a weekly basis another medicine is found to have some positive effect as a treatment.

    Any suggestion that the plan was to stop or end infections of this corona virus would be a medical miracle and a 1st of its kind. Humans have never invented a way to stop the transmission of a nasal based corona virus.

    When there is open and free data flowing from China then comparison with the rest of the world about how this was handled can be done.

    If there were between 5000 and 8000 urns a week for cremations remains for at least 8 if not 12, how can only 5000 death from corona virus in Wuhan have occurred?

    The reported deaths from China by non CCP sources is that the reported deaths are 1/20th of the actual fatalities.

  7. Jefferson J Reed

    Trusting science is the key in getting beyond this pandemic. Not thinking about it is not going to cause it to go away.

  8. rex

    I don’t know how long I will live but I know when I pass I want to pass watching the Reds blowing a save against The Cards

  9. greenmtred

    It is generally understood that U.S. deaths are under-reported, too–not by design, but due to circumstance (people dying at home, not being tested, etc.) It’s hard to talk around the fact that our deaths and infections lead the world–not per capita, no, but still pretty shocking for the richest nation in the history of the world and worse than many countries without our resources. That aside, the point as it refers to the baseball season is that the incidence of cases is increasing in some areas: It’s still with us, and still lethal. It has now caused more deaths in this country than the number of American combat deaths in WW1. Organized sports, by their nature, create increased risk in a pandemic.

    • Don

      Most of the places I look have the deaths over-reported by 20 to 25% not under-reported.
      Colorado reduced the reported number by 25% in May as the classifications were not accurate. Like the person whom had a positive covid test and weeks later after a he was cleared and recovered, dies with a 0.48 BAC. That was a Covid death.

      The CDC guidance for classification and the medicare/medicaid payments has created a financial incentive to report as many death as possible as Covid.
      Medical examiners and motricians have documented that any death certificate which they do not report as Covid gets questioned and they need to explain why not Covid and every death which has Covid as the cause never gets questions.

      Not blaming the business people running the medical facilities, they need to get revenue somehow and since the government restricted or eliminated profitable elective surgeries they have no choice as without doing that they must lay off doctor’s nurse, staff etc. and/or close the doors to their facility.

      Funny how the same data can be made to show totally different conclusions based on whom is presenting it and what result they want their audience to believe.

      • greenmtred

        Excess mortality stats indicate that covid deaths are undercounted. Very possibly some deaths are ascribed to it that shouldn’t have been, but the reverse is also true: Deaths ascribed to a co-morbidity or pneumonia in the absence of testing–particularly early in the pandemic–that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. This is the opinion of infectious disease experts.

      • Doug Gray

        There’s no proof of this actually being true.

      • greenmtred

        Doug: You know that actual proof doesn’t matter any more. The allegation is enough.

  10. Don

    the logarithmic curves are slightly rising which looks like a plateau, which was the goal of closing the economy for 6+ weeks.

  11. CallowayPost

    I think the best way to get the season going is to basically hire around the clock cleaning personnel who also video monitor the doings in high touch/close contact areas, while constantly cleaning. A lot of people, especially athletes, are unaware just like the rest of us of 100% of the things that we do with our hands. To be 100% deliberate in motor function is next to impossible.

    Look…we’ve all been dealing with this for months, including the players, and I think many of us not actively burning our masks because the great leader deems them stupid, have a good idea of how to conduct ourselves outside of our homes.

    For the business side, so much will he lost without a season, especially jobs. MLB has the money to weather this collectively, even if baseball shuts down, they just don’t want to pull together like the rest of us. They want theirs and no one is taking it from them. That’s why you haven’t seen them trying to get bailout money like so many other large companies that had overextended themselves before the shutdown.

    If the name of the game is to be constantly cleaning, testing, and social distance…baseball is perfectly able to do this more than the other major sports. They can even wear neck gators designed for the weather they play in…it’s doable. I HATE that this is where we are as a country, I only wish for the health and well being of others, just know the writing is on the wall…we are a consumer based economy and we are in the greatest depression. Not figuring out a way to live with this virus will only lead to more hardship.

    …and I hate sounding like the grim reaper because I honestly do care about everyone’s health…but we have to adapt.

    On a business side note…couldn’t the players agree to 60 games if they ask for a 10% raise during the playoff games to offset? I’m pretty sure they get paid for those as normal. I’m not great with brackets…but 60 games plus the entirety of the post season…that’s like 80-90 games for those making it to the finals.

    My head hurts. My heart hurts. This government has destroyed what remaining faith it had with its people.

  12. J

    I understand the players don’t want to be away from their families for three-plus months. However, that’s the approach MLB should take for the 2020 season. Play all the games in one area (Arizona, Florida, California, wherever…) and have the players report by themselves. During the season, they can eat meals prepared at the hotels and ballparks and travel to/from games alone via rental cars. Aside from being at the ballpark and hotel, players won’t have as much interaction with the general public. No, it’s not what the players want, being away from their wives, girlfriends, children, parents, etc. However, members of the military do it and survive. They are gone far longer, have a much more dangerous job, far less communication ability, and make a tiny fraction of what MLB players will make. If players don’t wish to be separated, MLB should simply allow them to skip the season while collecting pay and service time.

  13. RedNat

    The concern is that the testing is absolutely terrible. 30 percent false negative rate and about a 5 percent false positive rate. The tests right now are neither sensitive or specific.

    The one constant is that the death rate is going way down on a weekly basis.

    The WHO initial estimation is probably right. About 60 percent of our population will get it. With social distancing this is probably going to take about 4 to 5 years to reach and at that point we will have our heard immunity. I love baseball but i dont think it can survive 4 or 5 seasons on the sidelines. At some point the players are going to have to take a chance and get back out there or find a new profession. Yes, about 60 percent of the league will eventually get it. Some may get sick, most wont even know they have it. Could they pass it to a relative, of course!. But eventually we have to get back on the field

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Personally, I really don’t care of we have a season right now. For 4 specific reasons.

    Before that, I will say, I can easily see myself getting back on the bandwagon. But, I simply believe it would be best and/or we probably aren’t going to have a season.

    First, our pitiful response to COVID. For example, I heard this afternoon on the radio about how athletes of all forms weren’t going to be able to get outside and stay in shape during this time. That is absolutely wrong. I’ve gotten outside most everyday we’ve have any lockdown. That’s never been a hindrance. So, going for a run shouldn’t be a problem. Need weight work? That’s where pushups and situps come into play, working out at home, in the backyard, etc. I myself have some weights myself at home. And, those guys make a minimum of 10 times what I do. I would think each of them would have some kind of weights system better than what I have. Now, “playing shape”, that’s something different. But, “in shape”, that still shouldn’t have been a problem for any of them. So, if anyone is out of shape, most likely, like with most everyone else, that’s their problem.

    Second, related to the first, given our poor response to COVID, we really haven’t flattened any COVID curve. In fact, it’s going back up in many states. I agree with Dr. Fauci, we haven’t even gotten out of the first curve yet.

    Third, these negotiations to get this season started are simply taking too long. We’re getting to the point that, if we are going to have any kind of season, it’s going to be one that lasts maybe 2 months + playoffs, or we are going to be playing into December. Either one of those I believe would be ridiculous, especially with COVID still around.

    Lastly, next season, we are only going to be doing this same song-n-dance negotiation BS since, from what I remember, the collective bargaining agreement ends. So, they will need to renegotiate that. And, doing that has screwed up seasons before.

    In short, I’m getting ready for football and see if the Bengals can do anything with Burrow now, if they even get on the field.

    Two additional items –

    I am really wondering what the NBA is going to do. I mean, all the teams, with all the fans, going down to Florida, and Florida is starting to become the epicenter of COVID for the nation. I can’t help thinking that is going to be a “wrong move”.

    I believe we will have baseball again, at some point in time. However, baseball is getting to the point where, if they don’t get their items in order, they are going to be passed up by many of the other sports like soccer, college sports, and even golf and auto racing.

    • jim walker

      LSU apparently had 30 positives in their camp. Not sure of the breakdown as to players, coaches, and support personnel.

  15. Doug Gray

    Literally every single employee is at risk and out of your control. If you have a boss, it’s out of your hands. If you are your own boss (me, looking in the mirror), the customer base decides your fate as to whether you can survive.

  16. ClevelandRedsFan

    I’m not sure dying on the hill was truly worth it to the players. Here is everything they lost.

    The universal DH for two years
    A guaranteed $25 million in playoff pools in 2020
    $33 million in forgiven salary advances that would increase the take home pay of 61% of Major League players
    Overall earnings for players of 104 percent of prorated salary
    Over the last two days, MLB agreed to remove expanded Postseason in 2021 in order to address player concerns

    Here is everything they gained:
    Said hill.