MLB has passed along for players, okay an exhaustive document outlining provisions for the safety of all as the season restarts. If only it were that simple.
MLB has sent the union a “2020 Operations Manual” to cover the protocols designed to restart the game with health and safety.
As Joel Sherman describes in today’s New York Post, the 67 pages delivered Friday night are an exhaustive effort covering items as large as testing for COVID-19 and as small as the best practices for rosin bags and hitting donuts.
No mascots, no donuts in the on-deck circle, no exchange of lineup cards at home plate, no autographs for fans, and a host of other don’ts covered make up a document that is as impressive as it’s depressive.
The clear takeaway upon reading through the pages is where are we headed if there are this many coronavirus danger points that need to be avoided to play a major league game.
MLB And The Fallacy Of “Lawmaking”
MLB is about to learn a lesson from American history, which strongly suggests that adopting a law or code of behavior is one thing – but winning the acceptance of the citizenry to follow it – and the willingness of the police to enforce it is quite another matter.
Archaic state and city laws and ordinances remain on the books, but they are only words appearing on paper. An excellent read published by Undisputed Legal lists several laws no one pays attention to, or ones who have been declared not enforceable.
For instance, in North Dakota, it is illegal for a bar to serve beer and pretzels at the same time. It’s one or the other. Don’t ask why – it’s a law.
And in Carmel, California, where Clint Eastwood served as mayor, it is illegal for a woman to wear high-heels more than two inches when walking the village streets. Apply for a permit, and you get a pass.
So why bother having the law at all?
Listen Up Guys: There Will Be No Player “Fraternization”?
This is relevant to the MLB proposals for the player and public safety when it comes to the question of why have a “law” if it can’t be enforced because few appear willing to follow it.
MLB fans are quite familiar with players on opposing teams “fraternizing” on the field before and during ballgames. MLB now says no, you can’t do that. Or else!
Or else what? Are you going to shoot me?
Major league ballplayers are tribal by nature. Many have formed and cultivated relationships from their early days of travel ball and coming up through the minor leagues.
Now, because the business of baseball finds them on opposite teams, suddenly, these friendships are persona non grata? Ridiculous.
How MLB Misses The Player’s Biggest Concern
MLB spends an excessive number of sixty-seven pages talking about mascots, fraternization, hotel restrictions, clubhouse accommodations, etc.
But MLB swings and misses when it comes to the most basic of the player’s concerns. And no, it has nothing to do with money. Instead, it’s everything to with testing, a lapse that exists across America.
MLB plans to use a 24-hour turnaround test three times a week for all players and essential personnel, which, when fully counted, could conservatively number as many as 2,500 individuals.
MLB Falling Into The Testing Abyss
Consider this authentic scenario. Player X on Team Y playing against Team Z is tested today. Tomorrow, a day after being tested, he receives the unwelcome news he has tested positive and is being sent to immediate quarantine per MLB 2020 rules.
Both Team Y and Team Z have games scheduled for the following day, and per the MLB established protocol, both games will be played.
Complications increase exponentially, though, since Team Y is scheduled to play Team A, and Team Z has a game against Team B in another part of the country.
Meanwhile, Player X’s contact testing is still underway to measure the possible spread of the virus, which is known to have a 10-day incubation period.
Stop right there!
Guaranteed Nothing – Players Largely Roll The Dice
Generally speaking, MLB players are well-conditioned and athletes of a relatively young age who typically are not as susceptible to the virus.
67 or 670 pages of MLB protocols do not eliminate the risks associated with restarting the 2020 baseball season.
Blake Snell says, hell no, I won’t go – not unless you pay me my full salary to walk into the tiger cage in the main ring of the circus.
He’s not alone. Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado have come to his defense, and there are certainly more hiding in the bushes away from the media spotlight.
MLB’s Shameful Presentation To The Player’s Association
The best lawyers in America could not have done a better job of writing the MLB proposal to the players (MLBPA). The document covers all the bases, but it leaves a considerable gap when it comes to its main purpose – players and all other’s safety.
Shouting from the sidelines as Mark Teixeira has done in the comfort of his retirement, encouraging MLB players to jump in the pool as a patriotic or civic duty. This reeks of a player who carried home $213 million to his family over the course of his career.
The facts of the case suggest that if Teixeira, as well as the ESPN blowhards reporting from the safety of their homes, maybe he might hold a different perspective.
Similarly, Rob Manfred, Donald Trump, or the governors of Florida and Arizona, both of whom welcome any team willing to utilize the liberal opening of their states, who among you will be there in person to welcome in the 2020 baseball season on July 4?
MLB And The Ultimate Sin
MLB is setting the players up as targets they can’t defend against. And that’s because there are too many targets.
And the beat goes on…
When MLB throws mascots and on-deck donuts into the mix, the real issue of testing or the lack of a daily assessment becomes a blur.
Remember, whatever MLB and Rob Manfred throw out another scenario as a sure-fire way to manufacture a 2020 baseball season, it comes with a well-defined public pitch.
Look closely, and there is always a “please do step in the minefield” proposal to the player’s association on behalf of the team owners who provide for his $11 million salary.
He can have his money, but he can’t successfully continue in a campaign of daily public announcements designed to put the onus on the players to have “baseball” this year.
It’s a masquerade, and while the players do not escape entirely clean, they have a hold onto the ultimate test. Which is, is it safe for me as the breadwinner for my family and the protector of our financial future to suit up this season.
Nice try, MLB, but hopefully the players and all the peripherals they indirectly represent see through it.