There seems to be some serious contemplation of a possible end to the recently launched 2020 MLB campaign. For ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan, Commissioner Rob Manfred informed MLBPA chief Tony Clark that the league could stop the campaign if no recent issues arise.
While this may become a controversial issue, it doesn’t sound like the message is meant to be a threat. Passan marks it, instead, as a “reality review” for the sport. Both the owners and the players would obviously suffer financially if the season started.
The concerns are now well known. More than half of the Marlins active roster has been reduced with COVID-19 and the team is not currently playing there. The Phillies are also on ice as they have recently played Miami organics. And now two members of the Cardinals have tested positive.
It looks like the commissioner’s office might be contemplating such a good cancellation or break on Monday. The hope is that the Marlins-related outbreak will continue and that the cards will not have more positive evidence. The worst case scenario would be for members of most organizations to sell with infections.
There also seems to be a broader concern about the behavior of players on and off the pitch, and some government officials are transmitting problems to the League. The behavior of the rules captured on the cameras does not allow it to look good, although in many cases it is not particularly risky for transmission. But league officials appear to have identified high-risk actions taking place elsewhere on the ball field and off the field of play.
There is a great deal of guilt in avoiding this situation. Player responsibility is an easy goal and in some cases can be at stake, but there is much more. The journey poses obvious transmission opportunities, even for those who strictly adhere to the protocols. And the Marlins-Phillies fiasco, in which the player’s sentiment was inexplicably allowed to drive decision-making, shows that there have been leadership and planning mistakes from the highest levels of the league.
Of course, the most important factor in the difficulty of retiring a season is not really in the control of Manfred, Clark or anyone who pays to lead. With tens of thousands of Americans doing positive every day, and many safer with uncalculated infections, it is very difficult to prevent the virus from infiltrating traveling baseball teams and / or many people involved in staging games.