The MLB 2020 season is not a week old, and already it feels like what is supposed to be a two-month sprint, instead it is a marathon. Can baseball persevere?
The MLB 2020 season, played amid a pandemic, has always been a space shot to Mars. Scientists say it can be done, but the margin for error is zero, and the lives of the astronauts will always be in peril.
As with NASA, Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to say it’s all systems go, but we’re scaling down the mission from Mars (162 games) to the moon (60 games).
Instead of a typical six-month marathon, the MLB 2020 season is pared down to a two-month sprint in a test to see if baseball can outrun the virus and all professional sports leagues to the finish line.
“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth” (Mike Tyson)
Te MLB 2020 season was planned in conjunction with the Center For Disease Control (CDC). This widely respected national organization aided MLB in producing an exhaustive 113-page manual establishing rules and guidelines as a protocol to meet COVID square on.
Nearly all players went all-in immediately, and today we see teams boasting with the same energy as when they win a game about how dedicated everyone is in following the protocols, no matter how inconvenient it is to do so.
And yet, the MLB 2020 season took a punch in the mouth over the weekend, when as ESPN reported, eleven Miami Marlin players and two coaches tested positive for the virus.
A chain reaction ensued with MLB acting on the better side of caution postponed the Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees game at the Philadelphia Phillies, both scheduled for Monday night.
This morning, Commissioner Rob Manfred also announced the Marlins/Orioles contest scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) had been postponed. As of now, there are no contingency plans for make-ups of these three games.
Always cautiously optimistic, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN:
“This is one of the things that could really put a halt in the progression of where you’re going through the season,” Fauci said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to continue, and hopefully, this is an outlier … (and) several players and personnel are not infected … So, we’ll just have to see how this plays out.”
Is The MLB 2020 Season On Life Support
No, say the Miami Marlins who reportedly voted to field a team against the Orioles with whatever remaining players they have. Expanded rosters and a taxi squad enable teams to have as many as 60 players at their disposal. Nevertheless, MLB said, “No, Go.”
In a conference call conducted by MLB with the 30 MLB team owners, there was unanimous consent not to halt the MLB 2020 season until more testing is completed for all teams.
Easier said than done, however, as MLB faces an ongoing source of frustration in the turnaround time that it often takes to get results.
A team, for example, that gets tested today, can play two games against two different teams before the results come back in 36-48 hours. We know the math by now, and how many players can unknowingly come in contact with a positive tested person in the interim.
Amid The Chaos – We Have Heroes And Villains
In 2019, Dave Martinez underwent heart surgery. He is back this year to manage the World Champion Washington Nationals.
But in no way does he have blinders on. Recently, he told reporters, “I’m going, to be honest with you, I’m scared. I really am.”
Religious as ever in following the safety protocols, he said he only has been at home or the Nationals’ stadium. He said he washes his hands obsessively and wears a mask everywhere.
“But there’s always that concern. You don’t know. Right now, you don’t know, because of my heart condition, what happens to me if I do get it.”
As of now, Martinez is still with the Nationals, who are scheduled to play the Marlins in a three-game series in Miami.
Drifting to the other side of the pendulum, we find David Price, who always seems to be whining about something.
By now, you probably know that Price opted out of the MLB 2020 season, as was his prerogative.
But once you’re out, you are out, and you have no business weighing in when your peers are out there testing positive and trying their best to get through this thing.
David Price can’t seem to help himself though, and we get this ear-ringing ridiculous assault on Major League Baseball from where else but David Price on Twitter:
“Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players’ health first. Remember when Manfred said players’ health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is (that the) players’ health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”
MLB 2020 Season: Where To Go, What To Do
The excellent news is MLB, and the MLBPA (players’ union) are united and in regular communication to do what’s best for players and all of baseball.
What that is, however, is the proverbial million-dollar question.
We do know this. The MLB 2020 season is a moving target, and the events of a single day will continue to rule tomorrow.
Eerily perhaps, it’s akin to a ballgame itself and the twists and turns that come with every inning played, every at-bat, and even every pitch.
As a footnote to what I said earlier, CBS Sports is now reporting that the Marlins have since had four other players test positive, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, bringing their total to 15 out of the 33 traveling with the club.
Yes, the MLB 2020 season’s two-month sprint is already beginning to feel like a marathon.