Just over a week into the 2020 season, Major League Baseball faces a turning point.
Playing through the coronavirus pandemic was always going to be a challenge, but recent outbreaks on multiple teams have led to the postponement of numerous games and have many questions whether the campaign should continue on. Though a recent report suggested commissioner Rob Manfred was considering halting the season, he somewhat dispelled that notion on Saturday.
"We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now," Manfred said to ESPN's Karl Ravech. "We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable."
Comissioner Rob Manfred tells me "We are playing.The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now.We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable."— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) August 1, 2020
Manfred stating that "there is no reason to quit now" is quite interesting when one evaluates the current landscape of baseball.
As of now, the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals are the two teams that have the most positive cases over the last week. An outbreak in Miami that had 15 players test positive forced the team to pause the season and postpone games with the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. It also forced the Philadelphia Phillies, who played the Marlins on opening weekend, to delay games with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.
The Cardinals have had multiple staff members and a player test positive for coronavirus since Friday, forcing the first two games of a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers to be postponed. In just about one week of play, eight teams have not been able to play due to the virus.
Manfred noted that he feels the players need to do better, which could relate to the report that the Marlins did not follow proper health and safety protocols. Players should be working hard to remain safe, but still, it's the league's responsibility to put its players in a safe situation and set up the necessary procedures to contain and eliminate an outbreak. By having teams travel and not creating a bubble like the NBA and NHL, those tasks become more challenging.
With the virus still as prevalent as ever throughout the country, the problem is not going away. Manfred seems adamant in his statement to Ravech that baseball will continue on despite the bumps in the road. But unless things drastically change, positive tests will keep coming and "manageable" may no longer be the word used to describe the situation.
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