Via: Philadelphia Sports Nation
When news came out that four players from the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 prior to Sunday’s matinee with the Philadelphia Phillies, alarms were raised… but only a little bit.
When starting pitcher Jose Urena was scratched and regulars Harold Ramirez and Garrett Cooper were also absent from the game, the Phillies were under the impression that Miami had followed protocol and Sunday’s game would be as safe as possible in the middle of a global pandemic. The problem?
Miami in no way followed protocol.
In the 113-page document that MLB sent out to all the teams before the season in regards to COVID-19, it was made clear that anyone who had been in close contact with infected individuals should be quarantined. In the Marlins’ case, that was essentially every player on the team. Instead, they decided via group chat to screw it and play anyway.
Of course, as is now known, 17 members of the Miami organization have tested positive for the virus. An organization that took very few precautions and hails from a state that has taken very few precautions subjected the Phillies to a virus that is currently rampaging the country.
And the MLB did nothing to stop it.
Even though it was an inherently wrong decision for the Marlins to play, players always want to play. They’re used to pushing through injuries and putting their best effort forward anyway. In this case, there should have been an adult in the room to tell them that you can’t “push through” a deadly virus. Tellingly, that adult proved to be nonexistent in their clubhouse. But it should have come from Major League Baseball.
Commissioner Rob Manfred ensured everyone that player safety would be “paramount” when he declared a 60-game season into existence. Within just one weekend of baseball, he has proven that he has zero care for the safety of his players. Any rational human being would have canceled the game on Sunday, no matter what the Marlins players wanted. Manfred is the most powerful man in baseball. He must make the difficult decisions. Once again, he did not.
The Phillies pay players such as Didi Gregorius, Zack Wheeler, and Bryce Harper. Gregorius has a preexisting kidney condition that leaves him susceptible to the virus. Wheeler’s wife just gave birth to the couple’s first child the week before the season began. Harper’s wife is currently pregnant. All three of those players are likely to be extremely careful. They are just three examples of players in baseball who one would expect to have some reservations about playing.
The Marlins and Rob Manfred showed zero care for their safety or their families’ safety. That is inexcusable when something is being done for entertainment (and, let’s be real: solely for money to be put in the pockets of billionaires) in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 151,000 Americans as of July 28th.
Manfred was given a test on the first weekend of the season. He failed miserably.
MLB makes the #Marlins postponements (through Sunday) and #Phillies–#Yankees postponements official.
Now hearing the Yankees and Phillies could reschedule for next week, when the Phillies are supposed to play in Miami. pic.twitter.com/fcIKSiNReS
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 28, 2020
Then, on Tuesday afternoon, baseball released the statement above. This joke of a statement makes it seem as if Manfred and Co. acted prudently and quickly. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Manfred failed to postpone Sunday’s game between the Marlins and the Phillies, was late to postpone the Phillies-New York Yankees game scheduled for Monday, and cared so little about the players that they didn’t even learn of the decision until the media released the information.
I come on Twitter to find out if we are playing or not. I dont wait for a text because media knows the answer before us. Lol
— Andrew McCutchen (@TheCUTCH22) July 28, 2020
Rob Manfred has proven that he is incapable of running the MLB. And the Miami Marlins have proven that they’re incapable of putting the health of all players ahead of their own desires.
That begs the question: what happens when the next outbreak inevitably occurs?
Judging by what occurred in Philadelphia over the weekend, nothing.
Baseball should be ashamed. And the season should be canceled. But money talks. And it’s more important than safety in the eyes of Rob Manfred.
Featured Image: FOX