MLB season already in jeopardy with Marlins testing positive for COVID
July 27, 2020 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Only 3 games into an already shortened season and baseball is in trouble again. At least 14 players and coaches on the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, cancelling the home opener and inviting further questions if having a season is a good idea this year during a nationwide pandemic (it's not).

"Major League Baseball's 2020 season is not even a week old, but one team has already experienced a coronavirus outbreak that will sideline a chunk of its roster and has caused a game to be canceled. The Miami Marlins, who had four players test positive during their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies, had an additional seven players (as well as a few coaches) test positive on Monday, less than 12 hours before they were supposed to play their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles, per CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden."

"The outbreak potentially has far-reaching consequences beyond the Marlins — who would have hosted the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park on Monday night — as MLB also postponed Monday night’s scheduled game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees in Philadelphia. The Phillies hosted the Marlins for three games this weekend, and the Yankees would be occupying the same visitors’ clubhouse the Marlins just departed . . . “This is off-the-charts bad,” said Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Oxford College of Emory University. “MLB should probably shut the Marlins down for two weeks, shut the Phillies down for five days and … hope there isn’t a broader problem.”"

David Price tweeted about the news having already opted out himself: "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 because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed."

It's clear that policies already are being broken: "Major League Baseball issued a 113-page operations manual to all club employees before the start of the season. It outlines everything from on-field rules to testing procedures and what happens if a player tests positive. But Sunday afternoon, the status of the game amid a coronavirus outbreak was decided by a group text-message between Marlins players."

The commissioner, Rob Manfred, has yet to respond, but an already tenuous season could be over before the week is out.
posted by Carillon (100 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I tried not to add too much commentary about how wrongheaded I think the MLB has been through all of this and the decisions that should have been made differently. But man this has been a shitshow by the teams and owners. I love baseball a lot but it's pretty clear that those making the decisions care not one whit for the game and really seem to view the team as a profit-making line item.
posted by Carillon at 11:27 AM on July 27 [15 favorites]


Ok, who had three days? I had minus two, myself. I lose.
posted by Melismata at 11:32 AM on July 27 [13 favorites]


Does Disney World have some baseball diamonds? NBA bubble seems to be working pretty well. I mean, except when you stop at a strip club for dinner after a funeral...
posted by gwint at 11:35 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]


This sucks and they should definitely cancel the season but they should still have trump fly in to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium because we all need that laugh.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:36 AM on July 27 [27 favorites]


This was predicted by almost everyone on Twitter when they announced their plan to come back. They simply don't have a real procedure in place to deal with an outbreak, which was inevitable.
posted by chaz at 11:36 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, it is still nice to see magical thinking be so firmly proven wrong.
posted by aramaic at 11:39 AM on July 27 [45 favorites]


But hey, I'm sure reopening schools is going to go super well.
posted by overhauser at 11:45 AM on July 27 [80 favorites]


Why don't they shift to all virtual, use existing Egame technology, put all the players in oculus headsets with virtual bats and let the virtual games begin!
posted by sammyo at 11:49 AM on July 27 [13 favorites]


The computer-generated fans in the stands also turned out to be kind of a dud.

(And what ad wizard programs fans with long-sleeved shirts sitting in the bleachers in the 90+ degree Wrigley sunshine?)
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:52 AM on July 27 [7 favorites]


Why can't they just overlay crowds from previous seasons?

Also, this is a real opportunity for eSports to become the new national pastime. They'd have to work on the "TV Camera" so it wasn't just the FPV of a particular player or a fixed POV, but it could be really compelling.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:58 AM on July 27


From JoeZydeco's article: "and while the interactions between the virtual crowds and the audio will be basic for now (like basic cheers, boos, and the wave), the company is hoping to better integrate the two as it gets more practice over the season."

Not gonna get that chance.
posted by Melismata at 12:04 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


From what I can see, most of the teams are still using the dugout. Why? They have literally an entire stadium to social distance when they're off the field. Am I mistaken?
posted by Think_Long at 12:06 PM on July 27 [8 favorites]


What's that over there? Why it's an epidemiologist sobbing into her hands, unable to believe this is how stupid/greedy Americans are.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:07 PM on July 27 [60 favorites]


On the other hand, it is still nice to see magical thinking be so firmly proven wrong.

If only this country could retain a memory for more than 20 seconds.

I'm so angry about this. MLB could have led by example, whether it was "shit is SO SERIOUS we can't have baseball" or "shit is SO SERIOUS these guys will play without ever coming into contact with families (or friends! or randos at bars! the virus cannot distinguish!) or anyone outside the bubble for however long baseball lasts" but no. Just $$$$$$$$$, that's all that matters, that's all that's supposed to matter, please return to your regularly scheduled spending even if it means stepping over bodies to do it. Disney could have done this. Fucking Olive Garden could have. Someone could have tried to save us, but the money is too important.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:08 PM on July 27 [16 favorites]


I'm just here to favorite everybody who says "shitshow."
posted by rhizome at 12:14 PM on July 27 [56 favorites]


They simply don't have a real procedure in place to deal with an outbreak, which was inevitable.

The Marlins played on Sunday knowing that three players had tested positive.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:14 PM on July 27 [45 favorites]


If only this country could retain a memory for more than 20 seconds.

Media: Donald Trump killed over 140,000 people and we're probably a day away from 150,000.
* Trump wears a mask
* Trump keeps doing nothing about the virus
Media: Trump has changed his tone! So presidential senpai!

Our media are like ferrets on Adderall.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:15 PM on July 27 [41 favorites]


I'm sure some talented athletes really do want to play, no matter what. So howzabout this? ... find a relatively pure environment, set up the tv cameras, and do what we used to do in that ancient time when I was a kid. Whatever guys show up agree on 2 team captains, then choose up sides, first choice based on who can hang onto the bat last. Then play play play. Every day a new set of teams. No championships, no rivalries, just enjoyment of each others' skills 'n' strategies while it lasts. Maybe a few extra outfielders. Surely at least 18 guys can remain covid-free for most of the rest of the summer.
posted by Droll Lord at 12:15 PM on July 27 [9 favorites]


I'm going to NOT get into doomsaying or I-thought-so-ing (although I totally thought the season was in jeopardy and doom doom doom) and I'll just post some fun stuff.

Atlanta's first home run of the season hits dog cut-out in right field. Dog cut-out is okay.

The Philly Phanatic vs. a Marlins fan cut-out.

I was going to do more but I'm too bummed out. Enjoy the two highlights of empty stadium baseball.
posted by Gray Duck at 12:17 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


The problem is ~20% of people who get the virus will have life long complications including greatly reduced cardiovascular output. If MLB think the optics look bad now, when they have to retire out 20% of the MLB roster after this season who knows what's going to happen.

The OSHA lawsuits alone will probably bankrupt the fuck out of them.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:17 PM on July 27 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile, the NBA resumes from “the bubble” at Disney World on Thursday.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:20 PM on July 27


Meanwhile, the NBA resumes from “the bubble” at Disney World on Thursday.

8,892 cases in Florida yesterday.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:22 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Why it's an epidemiologist sobbing into her hands, unable to believe this is how stupid/greedy Americans are.

"Dear epidemiologists:

We feel your pain.

Love, climate scientists."
posted by nickmark at 12:23 PM on July 27 [93 favorites]


A bubble makes more sense to me than having teams fly across the country* to play each other.

*the Blue Jays have made Buffalo their home stadium as the Canadian government wouldn't give quarantine exemptions to visiting teams.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:25 PM on July 27 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure there's any one place large enough to host an MLB bubble, and I think it's too late to try moving to that model. There were a couple of proposals to do bubbles based on spring training sites, but those didn't work out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:29 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


BASEketball has never been more viable as now.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:36 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


In other live sports news, the Indy 500 is scheduled to finally run on August 23. The plan is to limit attendance to 25% of capacity, with ticketholders being reassigned seats to facilitate distancing. Ticketholders were given the choice of attending the 2020 race or swapping for 2021 tickets. Apparently, enough people opted to take tickets for next year to make the 25% capacity plan feasible.

IMS has never revealed what official capacity is, but, based on most estimates, a 25% capacity crowd will roughly mean 50-60,000 butts in the stands.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:47 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


The Marlins played on Sunday knowing that three players had tested positive.

Anyone involved with this decision, or who took the field knowing about the infection's presence among the Marlins, should be banned from the sport for life. And Rob Manfred should either cancel the season outright, resign, or (preferably) both.

They sure as hell did more damage to the integrity of the game than Pete Rose or Shoeless Joe Jackson.
posted by delfin at 12:50 PM on July 27 [25 favorites]


IMS has never revealed what official capacity is, but, based on most estimates, a 25% capacity crowd will roughly mean 50-60,000 butts in the stands.

God I hope they have some way to handle social distancing crowd control at the gate. 50,000 people trying to get into a stadium in the typical fashion is just asking for all of them to come back infected.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:54 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


We tried to have a baseball season in the middle of a pandemic with virtual crowds in the stands because our sundowning criminal game show host fake president thinks a virus exists to make him look bad. Some days of 2020, I can hear the laughter and sad bewilderment of future history students particularly well.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:54 PM on July 27 [25 favorites]


Only fourteen. Why do I have a feeling that the Rays or one the two teams from Texas are about to say: hold my beer.
posted by Ber at 12:58 PM on July 27 [6 favorites]


The NHL has the right idea of just leaving the US completely to be able to run their season.
posted by octothorpe at 1:04 PM on July 27 [10 favorites]




Last Wednesday in Atlanta: [WaPo via amp]
“Our dugout was a mess,” [Marlins manager Don] Mattingly said Wednesday. “They weren’t set up to have guys in the stands. It was raining. There were no tents. So we had all these guys, and nowhere to go. Then we have a zillion guys in the dugout, so there’s no way we were social distancing. Those are the things we’ve got to work through.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:10 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


It's working, so far, in Test cricket (the international long-form of the game, where a single match can last up to five days). England are hosting the West Indies in a three match series here in England. However, unlike what I've read about with MLB, the bubbles here are serious; there's only two grounds in use that have been set up with the strictest system (hotel for players and staff only adjoining the grounds; designated pathways; no spectators). Travel (by land, in complete isolation) between the two grounds is strict. No partners allowed in to the bubble. Testing is frequent. No players have been tested positive.

A few of the fundamental rules of the game have been changed because of covid-19. For example, players are not allowed any more to apply spit to the ball to polish one side (it alters the action of the ball when bowled). Applying sweat instead of saliva to the ball is okay for now, though. England have chosen to use the sweat off the back of Dom Bess, a right-arm off break bowler, as their ball polishing accelerator of choice for this series.

The cricket has been pretty good, though it's strange to see the empty stands.

One England player did slip out of the bubble for a trip home and was immediately dropped from the next match, fined, isolated for several days and repeatedly tested until he was allowed out of his room.

They are experimenting with limited crowds for county cricket matches (the season has been shortened, and proper matches only start in August). There's capacity and spacing regulations e.g. alternate empty rows. Interesting; though I'd like to watch my beloved Worcestershire I'm giving it a miss. County cricket matches are roughly eight hours per day, including the lunch break and the tea interval, which means having to use shared public restrooms which is a hard NOPE from me.
posted by Wordshore at 1:13 PM on July 27 [18 favorites]


Those are the things we’ve got to work through

No, those are the things that should have been worked out weeks ago!
posted by BungaDunga at 1:14 PM on July 27 [11 favorites]


But but but Bryce Harper's shoes?!

[Go Giants, while you can...]
posted by chavenet at 1:16 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I'm just here to talk about the US National Women's Soccer League and their infection free bubble in Utah. Orlando, as you might have guessed, didn't get to play.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:18 PM on July 27 [20 favorites]


I'm not sure there's any one place large enough to host an MLB bubble

An early idea was to play all the games in Arizona, where they have 10 spring training sites in and around Phoenix.
posted by thecjm at 1:31 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Yeah, in and around Phoenix. In July and August. LOL
posted by Windopaene at 1:45 PM on July 27 [20 favorites]


Some days of 2020, I can hear the laughter and sad bewilderment of future history students particularly well.

It's probably of little consolation, but as a history major I can assure you that laughter and sad bewilderment is frequent among history students regardless of their area of focus. The first thing I thought of on reading your comment was the rivalry between Robert Koch and Max von Pettenkofer, both German scientists and public health authorities.

Oversimplifying for purposes of telling a good story (also frequent among history students): von Pettenkofer was an "anticontagionist" who didn't accept the emerging "germ theory" of disease; Koch was big on germ theory and had in fact isolated a number of disease-causing bacteria. Along with tuberculosis and anthrax, he isolated Vibrio cholerae (which causes cholera) in 1884. Koch and von Pettenkofer agreed on the importance of public sanitation, but disagreed on why it was important; von Pettenkofer insisted that while clean water was important, cholera couldn't be transmitted by water, and was not caused by the bacterium.

In 1892 there was a major cholera outbreak in Hamburg which Koch's recommendations succeeded in getting under control. But von Pettenkofer was so insistent that Koch was wrong that the bacterium Koch had identified could be causing the disease that he got a sample of it from Koch, put the sample in a glass of water, and publicly drank it.

I remember when I first heard of von Pettenkofer; "laughter and sad bewilderment" are exactly right. But here's the thing: von Pettenkofer truly believed he was right about the science; he made a number of important contributions to public health and at every turn was genuinely trying to help people in the best way his understanding allowed him. The folks pushing for no masks, cutting unemployment, reopening and getting back to work? They know better. They know what the best science we have is telling us to do and they're not using it to prioritize public health and safety. They're prioritizing something, but it ain't us.
posted by nickmark at 2:03 PM on July 27 [29 favorites]


Related to the link overhauser posted, I was chatting with a friend who works for NFL Films and their opinion as of a couple weeks ago was “they’re gonna wear face shields!”
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:04 PM on July 27


The NHL has the right idea of just leaving the US completely to be able to run their season

... except that British Columbia, the major province with the best covid record thus far, was quick to make it clear that Vancouver would not be one of the host cities.

Too much risk.
posted by philip-random at 2:11 PM on July 27 [7 favorites]


The NHL is doing a better job than MLB with actual bubbles, as well as keeping everybody in lower-intensity-shitshow locales here in Canada. The Stanley Cup is a storied trophy with over a century of history. One trivia fact that has recently had increased prominence is that the Stanley Cup was awarded every year since 1893 except for the 2005 lockout and in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu pandemic. I always thought that they'd just cancelled the playoffs in 1919.

They hadn't. Long story short, they tried to have the Stanley Cup playoffs with Montreal travelling to Seattle. They played all but one game, but by then so many of the Montreal Canadiens wound up in the hospital with the flu -- including half their team and the coach -- they were forced to forfeit. Seattle's manager refused to accept the cup as a forfeit, so the space on the Stanley Cup that would have their rosters is engraved with "Montreal Canadiens / Seattle Metropolitans / Series not completed."

"Bad Joe" Hall, a 37 year old future Hall of Fame defenceman for Montreal died four days after the Stanley Cup was cancelled. The Montreal owner, George Kennedy -- a former champion wrestler -- never fully recovered from the flu and died two years later, at the age of 39.

To quote from this excellent Smithsonian article about the 1919 Cup:
“By March, it wasn’t really in the headlines anymore, and part of that is because people were really anxious to get back to their normal lives.” says Nancy Bristow, history professor at the University of Puget Sound and author of American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic. “But people were continuing to die, even though the emergency was off.”
So that's a precedent.
posted by Superilla at 2:26 PM on July 27 [45 favorites]


The computer-generated fans in the stands also turned out to be kind of a dud.

I like that the ad copy that Fox pitches it with is “No fans? Not on FOX Sports.“

THERE ARE NOT NO FANS ON FOX. It’s like Dr. Seuss after a stroke.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:50 PM on July 27 [15 favorites]


Holy crap, filling the Wrigley bleachers with Dr Seuss characters would be WAY more watchable than this "The Sims 4: Corporate Baseball Outing" version.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:56 PM on July 27 [17 favorites]


Would you like them in a dome?
Would you like them with some foam?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:59 PM on July 27 [19 favorites]


I'm just here to talk about the US National Women's Soccer League and their infection free bubble in Utah. Orlando, as you might have guessed, didn't get to play.

MLS is also happening Orlando right now with a World Cup style tournament. And besides a couple teams that dropped out before the tourney started (Nashville and FC Dallas), everything has been pretty smooth beyond a few players skipping the tournament for family reasons.. Most people hope the tournament will return in seasons post COVID. Hell, the Orlando men's team not only kept it together to start the tournament, unlike the women, they've already advanced past the first knockout round which is way, way better than anyone expected.
posted by sideshow at 3:19 PM on July 27


No, no. I've been told by several twitter folks who are definitely not bots, that merely reporting on this means you are wishing the virus wins and the league goes belly up. We've entered the upside down and it's only going to get worse when an NFL team has half it's members test positive.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:36 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


The good news is the WNBA will have a "wubble." But unfortunately there have already been issues, from gross living conditions to bubble porosity.
posted by rednikki at 3:54 PM on July 27


The problem is ~20% of people who get the virus will have life long complications including greatly reduced cardiovascular output. If MLB think the optics look bad now, when they have to retire out 20% of the MLB roster after this season who knows what's going to happen.
I don't think we know that yet, unless you have some source I don't know about? The closest source I know about for that information is a recent CDC survey finding a significant percentage of people who tested positive but were never hospitalized still aren't back to their normal health levels after 2-3 weeks. That could indicate life long complications, or just a recovery period that's longer than that period of time. It's also a percentage that's going to be higher than actual rate including of all people who get it, because a lot of people get it and don't realize it or never get tested, and those people are more likely to have had a lighter or asymptomatic case.

It's still bad, though, and especially bad for athletes who do have to operate at the peak of their physical performance. Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is dealing with myocarditis from his bout with COVID-19 though he's hoping some rest will let him recover enough to continue playing this season.
posted by foxfirefey at 3:58 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]




Well, if the season gets canceled, we can still watch Korean baseball. They even have some fans in the stands. No beer, no food and less chatting. The new normal for baseball fans in South Korea. Go Dinos!
posted by eckeric at 4:22 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


The Marlins played on Sunday knowing that three players had tested positive.

Baseball is a summer sport. We need summer dollars.
posted by Crane Shot at 4:43 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


The OSHA lawsuits alone will probably bankrupt the fuck out of them.

Don't count on it. The corporate masters will have both houses voting yes on full covid-19 liability shields for businesses.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:31 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


I don't think we know that yet, unless you have some source I don't know about?

Yeah I was going to say I'm pretty sure that number looks more like the numbers I've seen from studies of people who are hospitalized with COVID? Not fantastic though, nonetheless.
posted by atoxyl at 6:16 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


"Our media are like ferrets on Adderall."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:15 PM

Wolf's have to have some way to keep on Blitzin'...

(I despise the look of shock on that fuckers face 4 years later "how could anyone have seen this coming? how did this happen? who knows? our analysts can tell us right after the latest downpoll results in this horse race season! *whispers* now, where's my speed *whisper*)
posted by symbioid at 6:26 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


My household has been watching KBO (Korean Baseball) for the last several weeks, and the contrast between how KBO is handling keeping players safe and working with medical authorities versus MLB could not be more wildly different.

Of course Korea has far fewer cases and KBO has far fewer teams than MLB, but the point is: it can be done if you don't treat the whole thing as a cash cow. But this will probably not happen in MLB as long as the dude who provided legal advice to MLB's team owners during the 1994 strike is in charge.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:53 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


I’m an MLB Gameday Audio subscriber, and tonight, I listened to my first ballgame of summer. Normally, a ballgame on the radio is one of life’s great pleasures, not even caring about the game itself, but just falling into the rhythms of the banter and the crowd...

I feel pretty deflated. On an emotional level, I’m glad they’re playing, but there’s too much that’s wrong about it to really enjoy it. My seasonal rhythms are all off, making it all feel so forced. It’s so thoroughly a Bad Idea, there’s something deeply off about it that it’s no fun — they should only have canceled the whole shebang and tried again next year.

And I have to see this all last more than a couple of weeks anyway...
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:50 PM on July 27 [9 favorites]


Just dropping in to mention that a case of COVID-19, even a pretty mild one, is an especially bad idea if you are planning to explore the outermost regions of human physical potentiality as your career and life's main purpose.

In plain language, even a pretty mild or moderate case might well take an outsize toll on your stamina, lung and cardiovascular capacity, etc. And this is doubly bad if your career choice happens to be athlete.

Or as a recent study put it: Half of COVID-19 Patients Have Heart Abnormalities: Imaging Survey.

I'd be thinking about this pretty hard if my entire future career depended on maintaining a world-class level of physical fitness and endurance.
posted by flug at 9:03 PM on July 27 [7 favorites]


Or as a recent study put it: Half of COVID-19 Patients Have Heart Abnormalities: Imaging Survey.

Note that this study is also actually

a global survey to capture the findings of echocardiography performed on clinical grounds in patients with confirmed or a high probability of COVID-19

Which is to say as I read it it's an aggregation of imaging findings in a group of patients largely suspected to have heart abnormalities? Age range 52-73, 60 percent in critical care?

Again not that none of this is concerning - it does represent some number of cases of COVID causing heart problems in people without preexisting heart problems - but it bugs me to see it reported as if it's a sample of all patients (let alone all positive tests).
posted by atoxyl at 9:51 PM on July 27 [8 favorites]


Fauci threw out the first pitch. MLB is following cdc guidelines. I happen to think that it is a reasonable decision to try to get a season in. They set up protocols and the protocols are working. They test frequently. They contact trace. They shut down the game as soon as they had the positive tests. They postponed the Yankees game tonight to wait for the Phillies test results and to sanitize the visiting clubhouse.

Sure, we could all stay home in lock down and not expose ourselves or others to each other for what another year until a vaccine is available to all. Ir, we take reasonable precautions, wear a mask, wash our hands and isolate if there is any question of exposure. All these highly compensated players and staff had, and still have, the option of opting out and still get paid.

Quite frankly, it seems to me as if one or several of the players made bad choices that spread through the organization. A team in contention will police themselves bc they have too much to lose.

The decision to increase the number of teams to make the playoffs actually was to keep the players from opting out. If my team were out of contention with say 12 games to go, I am out of there. Why continue to take the risk?

There is a reason why they have expanded rosters and a 60 player pool. They anticipated players would get infected.

As I self quarantine 97%of the time, watching baseball was something to look forward to. Everyone has to make their own decisions as to what risk to assume as long as they are not imposing a risk on others with their choice. The pro sports world are making their own decisions and not really affecting outsiders. Personally, I think I would have opted out, but hard to say.
posted by AugustWest at 11:36 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


A few points that are important to my mind. I don't think it's reasonable to have baseball given the current number of infections in the US right now. Non-US places are able to have professional sports starting because they were able to actually lower things to a safety point. The US hasn't and MLB should know better than what seems more like a blatant cash grab then anything else. I mean look at the bs the owners pulled in the second round of negotiations with the players.

Also the protocols aren't working. For one the Marlins players decided over group text if they were playing or not. That's not a protocol that was set up. The testing is also too slow, and due to the current nature of covid testing means that a player can be a spreader before a test shows up positive. Plus there's a lack of masks and mask wearing even in the dugout. Players also aren't respecting the guidelines that are currently laid out. I love the A's but when Matt Olson hit a walkoff grand-slam Friday night, he was mobbed by his team, and then the skipper Bob Melvin just shrugged his shoulders about it later. That's not working.

I'm very happy that they postponed the game, but a whole bunch of people just tested positive! The players on the Marlins almost certainly shouldn't be playing another game for at least a week or so to determine if they had it. Everything I've read about Covid is that you can get a lot of false negatives in the first few days so just because only 14 tested positive right now doesn't mean more players on the team won't have it. I mean they're talking about playing on Wednesday! That's not a good look.

And lastly, I hesitate to talk about blaming individual player choice in the context of the labor issues that the MLB has right now. A lot of what the ownership has done reads to me as setting up poorly thought out institutions to restart the season that would mandate imperfect player cooperation leading to mistakes and then exposure. This lets them play the aggrieved victim despite the fact that it was the ownerships decisions that led us here, and turn the narrative into the players are to blame. Players actions exacerbated things, but the cause of the outbreak is the poorly thought out protocols and the decision to even have a season.

I really am missing baseball, and it's been really hard not having it earlier in the summer too. I wish we were at a point like the KBO where it was safe to have a season, both because the overall infection rate was low and because the league had appropriate and thoughtful responses ready to go. If any player in the KBO tests positive the league is suspended for 3 weeks! That's a set of guidelines based around player safety, not whatever the MLB is trying to pretend to do or care about.
posted by Carillon at 12:55 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


"I have just watched the BBC's Jenny Hill reporting on COVID precautions being taken by football teams in Germany, and she said that Eintracht Frankfurt will be disinfecting their balls at half-time. No wonder the infection rate in the UK is so high; we are only told to wash our hands."
posted by Wordshore at 2:35 AM on July 28 [19 favorites]


MLB The Shitshow 2020
posted by slogger at 7:22 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


Four more Marlins players have tested positive. That's now half the team.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:58 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


As goes baseball, so goes America.
posted by benzenedream at 8:10 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


The pro sports world are making their own decisions and not really affecting outsiders.

If we weren't experiencing another severe testing shortage I'd agree, but as it is, how many hundreds of tests are MLB doing? Is that a productive use of an (apparently) scarce resource?
posted by BungaDunga at 8:19 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]




As goes baseball, so goes America.


covid hotdogs and apple pie -- has a certain ring
posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on July 28


I am in NY. Testing is not a scarce resource here. In fact, I was at the doctor for another reason and off handedly asked about a test. Next thing I know there is a swab up my nose.

Testing scarcity is a red herring. Doctors treat incoming patients with symptoms as if they are infected. My son had a test today and he said the results will be available in 9-14 days. That test is worthless. But he got tested.

The key is to isolate, avoid close interaction, wear a mask, wash hands, and watch baseball from your couch at home.

MLB postponed tonight's Yankees - Phillies game out of an abundance of caution. I really do not think they are being reckless.
posted by AugustWest at 8:35 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


The whole shitshow is ridiculous and a 60-game season is truly stupid. We are a nation of brats.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:42 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


mmmm....braaaaattts.....
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:01 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


Hey, if you have sauerkraut with your bratwurst, you're in luck: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.06.20147025v1
posted by wenestvedt at 9:13 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


My son had a test today and he said the results will be available in 9-14 days. That test is worthless. But he got tested.

These precise testing delays in the NY area are exactly what I'm talking about. A 2 weeks testing delay means that tests are backing up and more swabs are being taken than can actually be run. More people are getting swabbed than can be speedily tested; that's what testing shortages look like right now. A 2-week delay is next to useless- 14 days is the recommended quarantine duration! Knowing that you had COVID two weeks ago either means you 1) weren't quarantining and spread it for two weeks or 2) you were quarantining anyway, so what was the point of the test?
posted by BungaDunga at 10:12 AM on July 28 [10 favorites]


rhizome: “I'm just here to favorite everybody who says "shitshow."”
Honestly, I think Taliesin & Evitel should be able to make a living going around saying, "No. It was a shitshow. Obviously," just like that "Let's get ready to rumble!" guy. Especially when it comes to this cockamamie attempted season with no real plan in place.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:56 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


It is precisely because of these problems that I have decided to forgo my participating in any top level professional sports this year. We all have to make sacrifices to stop this pandemic.
posted by srboisvert at 1:06 PM on July 28 [8 favorites]


Update from MLB (7/28/2020): Marlins won't play thru Sun.; BAL to play NYY
Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that all games on the Miami Marlins’ schedule have been postponed through Sunday (BAL @ MIA tonight, MIA @ BAL Wednesday and Thursday, and WSH @ MIA Friday through Sunday). Given the current circumstances, MLB believes that it is most prudent to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and planning their baseball operations for a resumption early next week.

In addition, out of an abundance of caution, the remainder of the home-and-home series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees has been postponed (NYY @ PHI tonight, and PHI @ NYY Wednesday and Thursday). As a result of these postponements, the Yankees will now play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday in order to create more scheduling flexibility later in the season. Additional rescheduling during the week of August 3rd will be announced later this week.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:41 PM on July 28


If a player gets COVID-19 and dies or can't play anymore because of complications, do they or their estate get the remainder of their contract? If not, can they sue for it?
posted by mollweide at 2:44 PM on July 28


Can someone help me understand the role of the player vote in all of this? First I hear that the Marlins voted (via text) to play after those initial three positive tests. ESPN is reporting in their latest Marlins story that the Nationals players voted today *against* playing the Marlins in today’s scheduled game (pre-cancellation). So much has been made of that 118-page MLB-issued manual of protocol re: COVID, and player votes are deciding whether or not games proceed? This seems terribly wrong to me.
posted by epj at 3:18 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


A 2-week delay is next to useless- 14 days is the recommended quarantine duration! Knowing that you had COVID two weeks ago either means you 1) weren't quarantining and spread it for two weeks or 2) you were quarantining anyway, so what was the point of the test?

A two week delay can lead to you losing your apartment if you are self-employed in a job where physical proximity is required.
posted by benzenedream at 3:22 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


"Applying sweat instead of saliva to the ball is okay for now, though. England have chosen to use the sweat off the back of Dom Bess, a right-arm off break bowler, as their ball polishing accelerator of choice for this series."

.. Gross.
posted by mrcircles at 3:41 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


But even so, the outbreak with the Pride came down to individual choice. The players in Orlando had the option to visit bars, clubs and restaurants because Florida had reopened those establishments, and some of them took it.

This is why optional restrictions and 'advisories' don't work. The most reckless person determines the outcome and everyone knows it. So even the diligent ones start to wonder what they're inconveniencing themselves for and taking risks. Next thing you know it, nobody's following any guidelines.
posted by ctmf at 6:37 PM on July 28 [15 favorites]


Last night, Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly mocked the Astros and almost started a brawl (USA Today)
When the Los Angeles Dodgers squared off with the Houston Astros on Tuesday night everyone wondered how long it would take for one of LA’s pitchers to hit an Astros player with a pitch in retaliation for the cheating that lifted Houston over the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.
It escalated to a benches-clearing exchange of words, with a certain wariness from players avoiding coronavirus.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:12 AM on July 29


@JonHeyman: Brewers-Cardinsls game tonight postponed due to positive test

@CraigMish: Multiple sources have indicated to me there are two players on the Cardinals testing positive for COVID-19.

Marlins and Phillies play with players positive. Cardinals and Brewers do not. Sure whatever. I’m just keeping track of mound visits.

posted by tonycpsu at 7:48 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


You've got 900 relatively young, healthy, extremely confident, and disproportionately conservative males and the season rests on them following strict social distancing measures while traveling. It's a fantastically bad idea from the jump.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:08 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


This is why optional restrictions and 'advisories' don't work. The most reckless person determines the outcome and everyone knows it. So even the diligent ones start to wonder what they're inconveniencing themselves for and taking risks. Next thing you know it, nobody's following any guidelines.

MLB teams are now being assigned security/babysitters for road trips.

So they will have to do their "business" during home games. Which is more difficult for the ones who are married I guess.
posted by srboisvert at 8:25 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Is it still the policy that it is up the players whether their positive result is made public or was that just for spring training?

Because how would that even work?

1. St. Louis Cardinals announce two players test positive for the coronavirus.
2. Players opt not to reveal their identities.
3. Cardinals resume play after quarantine putting two players on the IL.

How would we not know who was sick?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:09 AM on July 31


@JonHeyman: Brewers-Cardinsls game tonight postponed due to positive test

Argh. Report: After playing Twins, Cardinals players test positive for COVID-19 • Joe Nelson; Bring Me The News; 7/31/2020 •

No word yet on what the MN Twins are doing.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:15 AM on July 31


We're now only a week into the season and how many games have already been postponed?
posted by octothorpe at 9:33 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


ESPN: Sources: MLB, union agree to play 7 innings in doubleheaders
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed Thursday to stage seven-inning doubleheaders starting Saturday, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

With a number of doubleheaders expected to take place because of rescheduled games due to current and potential coronavirus outbreaks as well as weather-related postponements, shortening doubleheaders to seven innings was a compromise that came together quickly, sources said.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:43 AM on July 31


Y'all, the first time a seven inning game goes into extra innings and is decided by a baserunner auto added in the eighth... Heads are gonna explode.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:43 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I’m just here to pitch my expansion team; the Corona Virus Shitshows
posted by nubs at 12:07 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


When the first player dies, do they get to claim him as a sacrifice to the MLB gods and make a cairn of the mound?
posted by benzenedream at 1:05 PM on July 31


I just want to note how hilarious sports radio is these days. The games that are happening are obviously so half-assed that they are squeezing all they can out of every item that could possibly catch anybody's attention. It's really handstand-pushup level commentary.
posted by rhizome at 2:34 PM on July 31


I’m just here to pitch my expansion team; the Corona Virus Shitshows

You are nothing next to my team, the Textbook Dingdongs!
posted by rhizome at 2:35 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


*sigh*

"Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn't do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN.

[21 Marlins, 2 Cardinals so far...]

"Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league's protocols."
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:48 PM on July 31


Four more Cardinals (three staff, one player) have tested positive.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:46 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


This is not how I thought the Rapture would go.
posted by rhizome at 3:04 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


In plain language, even a pretty mild or moderate case might well take an outsize toll on your stamina, lung and cardiovascular capacity, etc. And this is doubly bad if your career choice happens to be athlete.

Red Sox P Rodriguez out for year, inflamed heart from COVID-19

Here we go.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:42 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Do any athletes buy Lloyd's of London, "Betty Grable's legs,"-type career insurance?
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on August 2


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