Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred made a call to Tony Clark and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Friday and said that there’s a chance the season could be shut down if there’s not a better management of COVID-19 within the sport. Jeff Passan of ESPN had the report first.
We are only one week, or one week and one day into the season depending on which team you’re looking at, but we’ve already had one team have a massive outbreak – the Miami Marlins have had more than half of their active roster test positive for COVID-19, along with several coaches. That’s led to the postponement of plenty of games, rearranging the schedule for some other teams. And while we don’t know if they are responsible for it or not, the Marlins opening weekend opponent, the Philadelphia Phillies, have had one coach and one clubhouse attendant test positive as well. Their games are currently postponed, too. Earlier this afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals had two positive tests and their game today was also postponed against Milwaukee.
State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league’s 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players not wearing masks, high-fiving and spitting have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.
Habits are tough to break, for sure. Spitting is something you tend to do without thinking. High fives? Those are happening after the moment that got you excited enough to want to high five in the first place. You’ve got to think about that one before someone gets back to the dugout, or the on-deck circle after scoring a run and the next batter is waiting to give them a high five. As for the masks not being worn when and where they should be – perhaps the new protocol officer that’s being put in charge with each team will help alleviate that issue. No matter what, though, things have to get better or we aren’t going to get much more baseball.