MLB Braces For Positive Virus Tests As Players Report To Camps
MLB officials are "bracing for dozens if not hundreds of positive diagnoses from intake screening given the sheer number of tests," according to Dave Sheinin of the WASHINGTON POST. There are "up to 1,800 players on active and taxi squad rosters -- many of them residing in states such as California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, where there have been spikes in case numbers in recent weeks -- plus hundreds of additional staff members." Orioles Exec VP & GM Mike Elias this week said, "We’re going to have cases -- that’s been the expectation ... all along. We’ll be prepared for it, to contain any situations that occur (and) to keep everyone healthy even when they do test positive. But we all know that we’re heading into a situation that is not without its pitfalls, and we’re going to do the best we can" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/2). MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he did not have a "firm number of days in mind" for the season to be paused if there was a virus outbreak. Manred: "The way I think about it is in the vein of competitive integrity. In a 60-game season, if we have a team or two that’s really decimated with the number of people who have the virus and can’t play for any significant time, it can have a real impact on the competition, and we have to think very, very hard about what we’re doing" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 7/1).
WORTH THE RISK? THE ATHLETIC's Ken Rosenthal wrote, "If tragedy occurs, people will ask why baseball invited such a risk." The problem for MLB and other leagues is that "clear-cut answers are elusive." A percentage of players "will test positive for the virus." The purpose of the 60-man player pool is to give clubs the ability to "rotate players in and out, but no one knows the number of positive cases that would require a team -- and possibly the sport -- to shut down." Rosenthal: "Is it fifteen? Twenty? Twenty-five or more? MLB has not given an answer. It might not know the answer" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/1).