Commissioner Rob Manfred still confident that MLB season will continue
The NWSL completed their season, while the NBA and NHL have received zero positive COVID-19 test results. What do those leagues have in common? Their seasons have and are currently taking place in bubble environments. MLB, on the other hand, has a true crisis on their hands. Instead of using hub cities, all 30 baseball teams are traveling in the midst of a global pandemic. The Miami Marlins had a massive coronavirus outbreak in their clubhouse, while the St. Louis Cardinals have a concerning spread of their own.
Despite these concerning health updates, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN’s Karl Ravech on Saturday that he has no desire to cancel the season, but does stress that the players “need to be better” in terms of following protocol and not taking irresponsible risks off the field.
Even with his confidence, MLB is nearing a doomsday scenario
This is a far cry from what we heard from Manfred in the past 24 hours.
On Friday, Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark that if the players aren’t more responsible, then the season will be cancelled. Prior to his comments to Ravech, a report from Keith Olbermann indicated that Manfred told television networks to prepare alternative programming, as the league could potentially shut down by Monday the earliest.
If one word could perfectly encapsulate the week MLB has had, it’s “nightmare.” On Monday, reports indicated that the Marlins opted to play a Sunday game against the Philadelphia Phillies, despite a handful of players testing positive for COVID-19. As of this writing, 18 players from that Miami clubhouse have yielded positive test results. Additionally, the Cardinals have had six players and coaches test positive for the coronavirus, forcing the league to cancel their weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
While not playing in a bubble is a main cause for the current uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, blame can be placed on the league. They had a 100-page protocol on how to navigate the strong currents of the ongoing global pandemic, but they treated it like an optional reading instead of a mandatory study guide. It wasn’t enforced, and the league pivoted to the Marlins to make the decision to play last Sunday, which is definitely concerning to hear.
If the league and the players union can’t get on the same page to prevent another outbreak, then Manfred will have no choice but to shut down operations for the second time this year, which will only sink his credibility even further, if that’s even possible.