MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Doesn’t See Reason To ‘Quit’ 2020 Season
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire

For all the lengths Major League Baseball went to with their health and safety protocols implemented this season because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 schedule was hardly a week old before an outbreak struck the sport.

Trouble began with the Miami Marlins, who continued with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies despite multiple players falling ill. Reports indicated the Marlins ultimately had 18 players (21 total members of organization) test positive for the virus by the beginning of last week.

That triggered a domino effect, as the Phillies were forced to quarantine and undergo daily testing. Only three staff members were found to have tested positive, but two of those were discovered to be false positives.

However, by the weekend the St. Louis Cardinals found two players had contracted the virus. Further screening found an additional player and staff member tested positive as well.

The series of events led to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred contacting Players Association executive director Tony Clark to inform him the season would be paused or cancelled if the sport continued to experience outbreaks. But in subsequent comments, Manfred indicated the league remained focused on pushing through, per ESPN’s Karl Ravech:

Manfred putting much of the blame and responsibility on players did not sit well with some, who shared their criticism on social media. David Price reacted to Manfred’s comments, and he’d previously accused the commissioner of not having player health as a priority. It was a sentiment Manfred predictably denied being true.

While it was reported the 2020 season faced danger as early as Monday, there were encouraging developments over the weekend. The Marlins have not yielded any additional positive tests and the Phillies seemingly avoided being the victim of contact spread.

However, reports indicate the Cardinals are anticipating more cases after their latest round of testing.

Dodgers take added precaution

In the immediate aftermath of Manfred contacting the MLBPA, Justin Turner quickly took action within the Dodgers clubhouse. The team implemented a wide array of guidelines to layer on top of what MLB previously set forth in their operations manual for the season.

Among the changes the Dodgers now have in place are all members in the dugout being required to wear a face covering, pitching coaches only being present when the team is on defense, and hitting coaches there when on offense.

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