League top basketball commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that on Friday, if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could close -se for the season, sources in the conversation told ESPN.
The league and the players they recognize in the coming days are a critical crossroads after a burst between the Miami Marlins in which 18 players and two coaches have tested positive for COVID-19. Two positive tests from St. Louis players Louis Cardinals on Friday exaggerated concerns in the sport about the presence of the coronavirus and whether properly agreed-upon protocols are being followed to prevent outbreaks similar to those in Miami.
If another outbreak occurred, Manfred, who has the power to close out the season, could move in that direction. Several players reported on the call-up fear the season could close as soon as positive tests are skipped on Monday or if players continue to not strictly follow league protocols.
State and local administrations have put pressure on basketball on players who cut the mandates described in the league’s 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players a high level of itching, spitting and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how players are taking the protocols, sources said.
In addition, there is a concern about options off the ground, with a senior official saying, “There are some bad decisions.”
The Cardinals game against the Milwaukee Brewers was adjourned Friday and rescheduled for Sunday’s double game. Already the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who played in Miami on Sunday, were missing scheduled games, leaving 20% of Friday’s league slate.