MARLINS’ COVID-19 OUTBREAK IS A BLACK EYE FOR THE MLB RESTART, AND IT’S ON THE PLAYERS MORE THAN THE LEAGUE
By Kyle Dawson
Featured image credit: Mark Brown, Getty Images
UPDATE (July 28, 2020 – 2:40 p.m.)
It now appears the Marlins will be off until Monday, with the Phillies resuming play for their weekend series and the Yankees and Orioles playing the next two days after being off tonight.
UPDATE (July 28, 2020 – 11:17 a.m.)
As of Tuesday morning, four more Miami Marlins’ tests have come back positive for COVID-19. That’s four new cases on top of the 11 players and two coaches we knew of yesterday. In the last five days, as you see below, the total is 17.
This is a good sign… albeit it’s a good sign for now. We don’t know that no Phillies’ personnel member, be that player or coach, will not test positive in the coming days. Keep in mind, per the CDC, the incubation period for the virus is between 2-14 days in the vast majority of cases. We should pump the brakes on clearing the Phillies for at least another round of testing, which will be conducted today, according to several reports, at the ballpark.
It’s also interesting to see that Baltimore has returned home. The two games that were postponed last night were postponed again today, so the quick thought in yesterday’s original post on each of the series likely being in jeopardy seems to be true.
Let’s put this simply, and we’ll keep updating this piece as new info comes out: if this begins and ends with the Marlins, the baseball season is likely not in any jeopardy. If the Phillies end up having an outbreak, then we may have a problem.
Hopefully this situation is and will remain a wake-up call to the rest of the league, its players and other personnel. Pirates’ reliever Nick Burdi, and you can take this on face value, was on with Andrew Fillipponi on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh yesterday and said the Pirates handled things pretty well in St. Louis. He told Andrew that the guys got on the flight, went straight to the bus and to the hotel, their bags were sanitized and brought to their rooms for when they got there, they had a common room to eat and that not many guys, if any, were out and about, because the interest to stay safe and finish the season is there. And Burdi’s not going to be seeing his pregnant wife until the end of the season.
Below is an excerpt from our most recent podcast, where we discussed this topic a few hours after news broke about the increased volume in positive tests.
Original post – Posted July 27, 2020, 11:30 a.m.
Here’s something that shouldn’t have been a secret: COVID-19 doesn’t run away in fear from Major League Baseball players. I mean what the hell did we think was going to happen?
As of 10:30 a.m. this morning, Monday, July 27, we’ve seen two games for the night postponed. My bet is the entire series between the Marlins and Orioles and the Yankees and Phillies don’t stand much of a chance either, pending further test results.
I mean this is incredible.
It doesn’t appear there’s a threat to the season itself. In reality, there shouldn’t be. Other teams have the situation under control. Nobody else has had an outbreak within the team. But this situation with the Marlins was bad Sunday. At that point, four people in the traveling party had tested positive. Did they seriously think nobody else was compromised or infected? Why the hell did Miami play yesterday’s game after two different infectious-disease experts called for them not to?
Here’s my thing. I don’t think a bubble in the MLB would work. I’m talking a complete bubble similar to what the NHL and NBA are doing. You can stagger games in those leagues. You can’t stagger 7-8 games a day at a bubble in the MLB. It’s also more personnel. You’d need MLB-quality fields and a bunch of them in one place. Find me a city that has that. JJ Cooper has a great tweet thread. I’ve embedded the first one below.
That said, why aren’t the players on these teams at the very least quarantined in their cities. Why aren’t there measures in place to make a bubble-like environment if the players and owners didn’t want to go full bubble.
Here’s a free idea: Players on road teams aren’t allowed to leave the team hotel unless traveling with the team to the stadium they are playing in. How difficult is that? And don’t think for a second that the league is more to blame for not instituting a bubble-like environment than the players for simply being stupid here. I get it. It’s hard to be away from your family. You don’t want to be sheltered in place for two-three months. But just be smart.
A novel concept: don’t put yourself and your teammates and other teams’ personnel at risk.
Wear a damn mask. Limit your going out to low-contact places… places where you can properly socially distance. Don’t go and hang out at bars or casinos or indoor places that can be feeding grounds for this virus. Take the steps necessary and be unselfish. Simple as that.
Good on the MLB to postpone these games. That’s the right call. No sport is worth the lives of players, employees, team personnel, etc. And don’t give me the garbage about these players being pictures of health and having great healthcare making their chances of dying less. That’s as dumb an argument as the people in this country who think it’s against their constitutional rights to be forced to wear a mask during a global pandemic that this country has handled more poorly than most places around the world and has killed about 150,000 people. Korea has fans at games, by the way.
Here’s the moral of this story. A bubble was never doable for the MLB. But you can take precautions and take the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t get out of control and that the season can happen as safely as it possibly can. Hell, bring out the rule I used to use as the golden rule for my groups of kids at YMCA Day Camp: don’t be dumb.
We’ll have more on this topic in verbal form on the upcoming edition of the COMON Network Podcast. Be sure to stay tuned for that.