Wait Till Next Year

28 July 2020


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Marlins' Covid Outbreak Threatens Baseball Season


The Major League Baseball season was due to start shortly after the country went into a pandemic lockdown. The owners and players bickered over money for a while, and eventually, they agreed to play a 60 game season, 102 fewer than usual. That shortened season is now at risk less than a week after playing began. The Miami Marlins had an outbreak of Covid-19 among 12 of its players and 2 coaches. Three games have already been canceled, and this looks like the beginning of something worse. The commissioner says this is not a nightmare scenario. He is wrong. It would be best to call the whole thing off for 2020.

The fact is that baseball got it wrong from the beginning. The only way to make sure no one was going to get sick was to quarantine everyone involved in the game: players, coaches, staff and umpires. Had MLB locked this bunch away and left them for a few weeks, it would be certain that no one had the virus. Keeping them all locked away would ensure they would not be exposed. Baseball did not do that. They opted not to create a bubble.

Commissioner Ray Manfred explained, "One of the things that floated up from one of the experts is, ‘Gee whiz, a way that you can do this is to quarantine players. And then you’re going to start a four and a half month season, and your life is going to be hotel to ballpark, back to hotel, room service, not see your family. So then we realized, gee, that’s pretty tough. So then we started talking about including families, and you realize as you get into that phase that you get into quarantine numbers that are insane." In truth, it is not as insane as playing outside a bubble.

The system the Lords of Baseball opted for was porous. Mr. Manfred said, "We knew that we were going to have positives at some point in time." The teams have an expanded roster to allow for sicknesses among the players. Even with 12 players out of action, the Marlins have another 18 on whom to call. For those unfamiliar with the game, a team puts 9 players in the field, meaning 18 is adequate.

At the same time, it creates a competitive disadvantage. Injuries and illness are part of the sport, and players and coaches have to operate around such problems. However, when more than a third of the roster is out of commission, and when that third is capable of infecting the rest of the team as well as competitors and others who have to be on the field, managing the illness makes a farce of the season.

Mr. Manfred himself said in an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" on July 2, "If we have a team or two that’s really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can’t play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition. And we’d have to think very, very hard about what we’re doing."

This journal has a suggestion. Close it down. Admit that the country did not create adequate conditions for the players, coaches, umpires and fans to be safe.

In the immortal words of every Brooklyn Dodger fan, "wait till next year."

© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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