Although Major League Baseball and the Players Association were unable to come to terms on financial matters or length of the 2020 season, they did find common ground on health and safety protocols, which was a prerequisite for commissioner Rob Manfred to set a 60-game schedule.
Drastic changes were required in order for MLB to begin the process of playing some semblance of a season under the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Players are not permitted to high-five one another, do any sort of spitting, and must remain at a safe distance from each other and umpires whenever possible.
And as part of the process to beginning Summer Camp last week, players had to agree to be subjected to regular testing. On a recent “Holding Kourt Podcast” episode, Justin Turner outlined some of his concerns with the saliva testing for players”
“We are going to be tested every other day. The every-other-day test, from my understanding, is going to be the saliva test. We’re not allowed to spit, but we’re going to do a whole lot of saliva tests. Save your spit every other day for COVID. So every other day it’s a saliva test, and those results take 24 hours to get back. At the same time, we’ll have the blood test — the prick on the finger to give the you antibodies — so if you’re having any type of symptoms, they’ll probably do the rapid test right then and there. And we also have a nasal (test). I’m trying to avoid that one. …
“My one concern about the saliva test is there is a 1% false-positive. I’m worried that these false-positives are going to really have an effect. … You’re probably going to have somewhere around 1,700 to 2,000 people getting tested every other day. So that means 17 to 20 people every day are going to have a false-positive. And then they have to sit out one or two days to figure out if they’re actually positive or not. I don’t know what’s going to happen after that.
“Obviously, my biggest concern would be someone actually testing positive and their health being taken care of, going home and getting whatever they need to recover. But the false-positive one, what happens if you have two starting pitchers who are supposed to pitch back-to-back games and then they get these false-positive tests and they have to be shut down? Now you have to have two other starting pitchers step in. I think it could be a mess. I hope it’s not.”
Despite their best efforts to create a safe environment for players, MLB has received plenty of criticism due to delays teams experienced of receiving test results over the weekend and early this week.
Mookie Betts said the development has caused him to doubt the viability of playing all 60 games. However, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his club was not among those affected by the hiccup in receiving results.
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