The Los Angeles Dodgers are just under a week into Summer Camp workouts at Dodger Stadium. While the club is still awaiting the arrivals of more than a handful of players, the team hasn’t encountered any issues with receiving results of coronavirus (COVID-19) test results in a timely fashion.
Such will be critical for the 2020 MLB season to go on as scheduled. While some clubs are experiencing delays on this front, the league attributed it to the Fourth of July weekend and doesn’t expect a similar recurrence going forward.
Another factor that will likely dictate whether teams can complete their 60-game schedules is players adhering to the health and safety protocols. This is vital in order to limit the odds of contracting the virus and potentially infecting others.
“I have a lot of confidence about the players because they understand what’s at stake, we’ve also spent so much time with each of them up until now going through the processes and going through the steps leading up to getting here to the opening of Summer Camp here today,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said.
“Obviously there’s a dimension to this that involves more than just the players, it’s wherever they are when they’re not here and where those people that they come in contact with are in the rest of their lives. So it’s complicated, it’s tricky.
“I have a high level of confidence about our players who have, I think, been made to appreciate the seriousness of all this. But, as I said, this is a problem that extends far beyond just the players and we’re aware of that and I think we’re prepared to deal with that in the most responsible, safe and appropriate way.”
Kasten added that Dodgers officials will urge players to remain cautious and avoid public gatherings outside of games if they can help it. He also believes the players will be effective in spreading that message.
“This team has a stellar group of veterans and the veterans’ delivery of that message will be even more important than mine or Andrew’s or Doc’s delivery of that message,” Kasten said.
“I think we have real responsible people on this staff, both the old guys and the young guys. I think we have a reasonably responsible group of players. We will continue as often as possible, Andrew and I were talking about this the other day and he said, ‘We need to make that point at every possible turn right to the very end of the season,’ and we will.
“We have to reinforce that, we can’t slip, we can’t make a mistake because the consequences for yourself and for your team and ultimately for the whole industry are too extreme. So yes, we will continue to advise them on all of the best practices.”
While some believe proceeding with a 2020 season is too risky, Kasten is confident MLB has put players in the best position to stay safe and healthy. “I think we’ve done as good of a job, and I mean all of baseball has done as good of a job at preparing everyone involved in the sport, front office people as well as all the players to give this the best shot,” he said.
“I think there is real value in getting back on the field, not just for our players and not just for our organization but for the country as a whole. And so it’s worth taking the shot assuming you can do that with the maximum amount of safety.
“As long as we have what I would call an acceptable level of incidents and proper and appropriate treatment of whatever arises, I think we’re going to be OK. But I guess we’re all learning as we go and I feel good about the protocols that we have in place so far.”
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