Following just a week of play in the MLB restart season, the league’s continuation of play is already in jeopardy. Commissioner Rob Manfred warned players, organizations and fans Thursday by stating the league could shut down if players do a poor job of controlling the outbreak of the virus.
The Miami Marlins have recently been hit hard by the coronavirus, with 21 members of the team testing positive. Just soon after Miami’s cases were reported, two tests from the St. Louis Cardinals came back positive as well. This is raising concerns for league officials who believe these organizations and others are not taking the necessary precautions. Many state and local governments are influencing the disobeying of league rules during this season. Video of players high-fiving, spitting and not being socially distanced are forcing the league to believe there are outside sources persuading the players to act in such manner.
Another concern is off-field decisions. Unlike the NBA, Major League Baseball is not in a confined and isolated space like the NBA bubble. Therefore, players are traveling on the road, staying in hotels and returning home to be with their families.
The Cardinals’ home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed Friday due to player concerns of contracting the virus, as well as the Marlins and Phillies who now have missing games on their schedule.
Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo made a statement on Twitter Thursday, saying, “Player Safety? @MLB let’s sit around for 8 plus hours in the clubhouse… I’m sure I can find that somewhere in the 113 player safety protocol.” The cancer survivor is voicing his concerns about the safety of the league’s participants and does not stand alone.
The MLB is doing the best they can to avoid an outbreak of the global pandemic. However, Manfred is not afraid of halting the season if players and staff fail to follow guidelines.