For the first time since early March, a sense of security and familiarity had been re-established in my life this weekend. With the return of baseball, my old normal collided with my new normal. I felt comfortable, content, and genuinely excited about something again.
Then I woke up this morning to the news of an abundance of positive COVID-19 tests coming out of the Miami Marlins’ clubhouse, effectively – and appropriately – putting the reality of this year’s MLB season back into perspective for myself and many others.
For as much as I’ve hammered home the uncertainty surrounding this season, I was swept up by the excitement of this past weekend. I became ignorant to the glaring health violations several teams – the Mariners included – made on national television, spitting, doling out high-fives, sitting within less than six feet apart from one another, and so on.
My delusion got the best of me. I was irresponsible. I was selfish.
It’s way too easy to feel so disconnected from sports and the human beings who help bring such entertainment to life. To take such joys in our lives for granted, and to forget just how crucial our role is in enabling multi-billion dollar corporations to put the health of its employees and their inner circles at great risk to maintain its wealth.
The entire Phillies organization now anxiously awaits their test results after being in close contact with numerous COVID-positive Marlins players and staff. Before yesterday’s game between the two teams, four players on Miami’s 30-man roster (13.33%) had already tested positive. That was public information, yet Major League Baseball ignorantly allowed them to play. Even with positive cases now in the double digits on one roster alone and the uncertainty of Philadelphia’s situation, MLB still (unsurprisingly) won’t entertain the idea of suspending or cancelling the season.
Whatever results the Phillies may receive tonight or tomorrow could be irrelevant anyway, considering the idea that the virus can reside in your system for a significant period of time before being detectable by test. So if the results come back with a high percentage of negatives, MLB will likely give Philadelphia the green light to proceed with its upcoming series against the Yankees.
But again, the virus may have already latched onto several Phillies players over the weekend, and while they may potentially feel asymptomatic at the moment, they’re still very much contagious. This now puts the Yankees at risk, as well as any team they’re set to play in the near future. Not to mention the Orioles, who are expected to play the Marlins at some point this week.
We’re witnessing the development of a domino effect that, while it may remain exclusive to MLB’s Eastern divisions, will inevitably result in the abrupt end of the 2020 season. So why wait until even more players, coaches, and other staff get sick?
I fear for how far Rob Manfred and the league’s owners will take this until their hand is forced. If the cases out of Miami aren’t enough to end things and neither is a potential outbreak in Philadelphia, what has to happen in order for them to finally admit defeat and set their sights on 2021?
Does it have to be a high-profile club like the Yankees for them to pay attention? Because that feels like an immediate possibility. Does something even worse have to happen? What is MLB’s breaking point?
The sooner we know the answer to that, the better.
I want there to be a season more than anything, but I need to be more responsible in setting my priorities. We all do during this time.
While I’m not actively rooting for the failure of the MLB season, the realist in me knows what likely lies ahead if they don’t get this under control right away. Honestly, I think it’s beyond their control. Therefore, Major League Baseball needs to look inward and reevaluate their stance before it’s too late.
Perhaps it already is.