Monday July 27, 2020
MLB Hits Covid Snag After 3 Games
This morning, when I heard that the Yankees-Phillies came was suspended because the Phils had been playing the Marlins and a Covid outbreak has been reported among players and coaches on the Marlins, I tweeted the following:
I blame Derek Jeter.
I was joking. Jeter is part owner and full-time corporate spokesman for the Marlins, not to mention my frequent bete noir, but I wasn't really blaming him. Half an hour later, he was trending because many fans were. So I deleted the tweet. You‘re welcome, Derek.
How much do I want to watch baseball these days? Yesterday, I watched the Diamondbacks vs. the Padres. That’s how much I want to watch baseball. (Tyler Kepner chronicles some of the joys of that first weekend here.) I was even beginning to think that maybe I was wrong and the short season might work out after all. Here's what I wrote earlier this month:
Sorry, I just can't see it working. What if a player contracts Covid during the season? How long must he be in quarantine? How long will his team be in quarantine and what will that do to the schedule? Do they forfeit games? Do they try to make them up? What if this happens during the World Series? And imagine if a player dies. The U.S. is currently averaging 50k confirmed cases a day. Just don't see it working. Hope I'm wrong.
The worst part of the report—and one of the reasons many were angry at Jeter—is that some players tested positive yesterday and played the game anyway. WTF? What protocols has MLB put in place? Is there no one in charge of this ride? Craig Calcaterra has a good short piece about the confusion on NBC Sports, “Derek Jeter's statement about the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak raises more questions,” and he begins it by quoting CEO Jeter:
The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters.
Calcaterra then adds this graf, which is about the smartest graf I‘ve seen about corporate America in years:
The “____ is our top priority” form of corporate statement is always — always — deployed when the thing the business is claiming to be its top priority has been manifestly compromised. If a plane crashes, “safety is our top priority.” If employees are mistreated, “the well-being of our workers is our top priority.” If there’s a chemical or oil spill, “responsible environmental practices are our top priority.” It's become such a cliche that it's hard to take that bit of businesspeak even remotely seriously.
If you're on Twitter, follow Craig Calcaterra.
I still want to be wrong.