This afternoon in light of the coronavirus outbreak sidelining one third of the Miami Marlins, the MLB had a conference call with all the owners. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that the season will not be paused and will not be shut down at this time.
In the conference call, there was no talk of shutting down the season; instead, the league plans to double down on its already-in-place safety protocols — including cracking down on high fives and spitting while making masks mandatory in the clubhouse.
Because there are no clear MLB guidelines in the agreement between the union and the league as it pertains to what would prompt a shutdown, that discretion is to be made by Manfred alone. He was asked earlier in July, during a radio interview with Dan Patrick, what would have to happen for him to consider exercising that power.
“I don’t have a firm number of days in mind (to pause the season). I think the way that I think about it, Dan, is in the vein of competitive integrity, in a 60-game season,” Manfred said. “If we have a team or two that’s really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can’t play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition, and we’d have to think very, very hard about what we’re doing.”
Clearly, MLB’s Manfred doesn’t feel the Marlins outbreak will have a “real impact on the competition.” Rather, Manfred seems to subscribe to the same school of thought as Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten, who said on Monday “I do think we expected something like this at some point, and maybe getting it out of the way early will help teach us things that we’ll avoid repetitions of this going forward.”
In a Zoom call today, Nationals manager Davey Martinez’s voice was off. Very emotional. You could tell he was struggling to keep it together. These are real people in real situations here. I tried to get a statement from the Yankees but was unsuccessful.
It may be wishful thinking or just blind optimism, but all the bad news today apparently will not end a season the MLB and the owners so want to complete.