After Slew Of Positive Tests, MLB Tightens Health-And-Safety Protocol
MLB sent "severe, revised protocol measures" to all clubs yesterday, "threatening to suspend a player or staff member for the remainder of the season for repeated or flagrant violations" of the updated code, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The league also is "hiring officials to monitor clubhouses and team hotels to assure there are no violations." The message distributed to all clubs said if MLB desires to play, the revised protocols are "necessary to limit infections and, if someone does test positive, to keep the virus from spreading." MLB "made it clear in the memo it will not tolerate reckless activity, or there will be severe punishment." The league now is "requiring everyone to always wear masks when not on the field, while also severely limiting all interaction among players, coaches and staff members." Nightengale writes, "Certainly, the new protocols are daunting. They are intimidating. And scary." But also, "perhaps absolutely necessary, if the 2020 Major League Baseball season is going to continue without interruption" (USA TODAY, 8/6).
BUBBLING UP IDEAS? THE ATHLETIC's Evan Drellich wrote, "Everything we’ve seen thus far in MLB’s attempt to play during a pandemic indicates the playoffs should be run differently than the regular season." If MLB can safely hold its regular season and reach a postseason, Commissioner Rob Manfred's office and the MLBPA "appear to have little choice but to hold the playoffs in as close to a controlled environment as possible." The "recent slew of positive COVID-19 tests and the ensuing cancelation of games" could suggest an "untenable situation for October." MLB "might be able to successfully finish the regular season with some teams playing fewer than the originally planned 60 games." But the postseason is "different: Games eventually have to be finished" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/5). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser also said it "looks like players would be better off being sequestered” for the playoffs. ESPN’s Michael Wilbon: “Baseball is the sport where ownership and labor hate each other, they do. They despite each other. They don't want to cooperate with one another, they can't come to an agreement quickly on anything and I don't think they can even come to an agreement on this, which seems like the logical solution” (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/5).