By: Justin Girshon
July 3, 2020
On the evening of June 23, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced the principles for the 2020 MLB season. Major League Baseball has made a tremendous effort to ensure the safety of the players in an over 100 page health and safety protocol. Although Major League Baseball has made a tremendous effort to ensure the safety of the players, it may not be enough.
As part of Major League Baseball’s attempt to limit COVID-19 cases throughout the league, games will only be played regionally. For example, teams in the East Region (AL East and NL East) will only play against each other in the regular season to limit travel. Even though all teams will be playing within a regional zone, there is still a very good chance multiple players will attract the COVID-19 virus. We don’t yet know each team’s schedule, but a team could potentially be in up to four states over a two week span interacting with hundreds of people who may have had contact with COVID-19. Major League Baseball has stated that players will be tested and have temperature regularly but it’s been proven that not all testing is accurate. If a player has COVID-19 and the test inaccurately shows they test negative and that player is asymptomatic, there is a very high probability that the virus could spread within the organization and infect the opponent of that organization.
If there is an eternal outbreak within an organization, each organization submitted a roster with up to 60 players just in case players need to be called up to the active roster. If 75% of an organization’s original active roster tests positive for COVID-19, those players would need to sit out for at least two weeks. In that minimum of two weeks, an organization could go on a losing streak essentially eliminating themselves from playoff contention. If the organization is essentially eliminated from playoff contention, the 75% of the players apart of the organization who have been out for a minimum of two weeks with COVID-19 have no reason to return to the field. If the 75% of the players apart of the organization don’t return, TV ratings will drastically fall for that team because nobody likes seeing their team continuously lose, especially if their favorite players aren’t even playing.
Even if a separate organization doesn’t have an eternal outbreak but the team is struggling, players may start to sit out for the rest of the season potentially causing a domino fall. If the Angels are struggling and have no playoff hopes, Mike Trout could potentially feel it would be better to stay safe by sitting out. If players on another team see the face of the sport sitting out, they may follow. If a domino effect starts, more and more star players will start sitting out driving TV ratings down even further. Because Major League Baseball has already lost millions or even billions of dollars without starting the season in March like it usually does, the league wants to make as much money back as they possibly can; more and more players sitting out would not help that cause.
Featured image via twitter.com/yankees