Only three games into the pandemically ravaged Major League Baseball season, it's suddenly looking unlikely that the league will be able to complete its cobbled-together abbreviated 60-game campaign.
After 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus, the Marlins-Orioles and Yankees-Phillies games were canceled earlier today. A mad dash is now underway as the teams — and MLB — attempt to figure out how to deal with such a catastrophic outbreak so soon after the long-delayed season commenced last Thursday.
No matter what MLB does to slap a Band-Aid on its recent rash of COVID cases, there is no reason to believe the league can complete a season in any meaningful fashion. Not under the current circumstances, anyway.
It's clear MLB lacked a well-thought-out plan to operate amid the pandemic, and there are already cracks in the foundation of the season as a result.
Here are ten reasons the Marlins outbreak proves that MLB needs to quit while it's ahead and put a lid on 2020.
Attempting to travel multiple times a week amid the coronavirus. It's really remarkable that MLB thought it could just ignore the same issues the NBA has taken seriously and spent millions upon millions to remedy. Instead of creating its own bubble, MLB decided to allow teams to play games and then fly to another city for their next series.
That's already proven to be a problem, as the Marlins are stuck in Philadelphia today.
Unbalanced records. The Marlins' coronavirus outbreak is only the first of what will likely be many outbreaks this season throughout MLB. With no bubble in place and players and staff free to roam, it would be shocking if there aren't more.
More outbreaks mean there will inevitably be lots of missed games. In a season already shortened to 60 games from 162, how do you judge who deserves to make the playoffs when one team has played 35 games and another has played 57? Winning percentage means nothing when huge chunks of games are missed.
Players' livelihood. No one knows what the lasting effect of the coronavirus will be. Until we do, those who get the virus don't know if they will be affected in the future. That stinks for normal people, but for players looking to score the next $300 million contract, having their health in peak function is worth its weight in gold.
Sacrificing a season to ensure players' long-term health seems like a no-brainer.
It's insensitive to continually travel while Americans are encouraged not to. Right now, Americans are discouraged from hopping on a flight unless they absolutely have to. It's the new normal until a vaccine is available or the spread of the virus is greatly diminished. For Americans following those guidelines — especially those who don't care about sports — it's incredibly frustrating to see MLB ignore these concerns.
MLB players are people. People who, as the Marlins have shown, can contract and spread the coronavirus just like anyone else. Maybe they shouldn't be skipping across America all week, even if they're flying private.
It's obvious teams are not exactly educated on protocols. The Marlins knew they had a handful of players who had tested positive, so the first thing they did was get the entire team together for a meeting. Really! Imagine if your family had someone test positive and the first thing you decided was that everyone should meet at your place to talk about it in person.
These teams aren't prepared for the new normal. You really can't blame them, but in some cases, even basic logic is lacking. It's already getting people hurt.
Unlike the NBA and NFL, time isn't on MLB's side. The NFL has months to figure out what it should do about its season. A lot can (and will) happen before September (assuming the season starts on time). The NBA is rushing to get its final games in, and then the season will be over for most teams in a matter of weeks.
As it now stands, MLB teams will be playing games until late October. And traveling. All in the midst of a pandemic that is nowhere near under control.
MLB players' families are at increased risk. The NFL plays once a week, with teams only traveling to different cities half of the time. The NBA is playing inside a bubble in Orlando. MLB players are traveling all over the country, then coming back home to their families. It's unnecessary.
It's not taking the issue at hand seriously. Many of these players' wives are pregnant or will give birth during the season. Countless have underlying health issues that make COVID more dangerous.
MLB players aren't exactly the most hygienic people. Baseball players are known for being gross. Spitting is part of the sport. Officials have tried to put rules in place that ban such things this season, but as the above video shows, there aren't exactly gross-as-hell police on hand to enforce the rules.
Maybe these aren't the best people to be trusted to live cautiously while traveling the U.S. during a coronavirus pandemic.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should be fired. There were a handful of reasons Manfred needed to be fired before this season, but his handling of the negotiations that led to the season being delayed, and now being in peril, is reason enough to scrap the entire thing and find a new leader.
Baseball isn't a democracy. The league can find a capable leader and switch it up tomorrow if it likes. The season should be canceled so it can get around to that ASAP.
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Sports aren't that important. We all love sports. Under normal circumstances, you'd need to cancel the Marlins season over my dead body. In this case, we shouldn't need actual dead bodies before the season is tabled. Sports just aren't that important.
This isn't like after 9/11. The nation does not need to rally behind our athletes to prove we can get back to normal in the face of an enemy. The enemy in this case is just us doing what used to be normal.
Let's get it under control before more people get hurt. Cancel the season. Baseball will be there in 2021.