This week, I turned on my radio to hear the sound of a baseball pounding into a mitt over and over until that beautiful crack of the bat brought up the next batter. I listened to that game until it ended and I could put on a new one.
It was beyond beautiful.
Yes, after 19 -- count ‘em -- 19 full weeks of sports being missing in action in the United States, they are back. As I write this, my Detroit Tigers are 2-2 and our top prospect is gearing up for his MLB debut in the coming weeks. The league appears as partial as ever with every team having at least one win and one loss after just one weekend. It’s an exciting time to be a fan… but things are not going as smoothly as they can.
Over half of the Miami Marlins team has tested positive for COVID-19, and they played that way against the Philadelphia Phillies. As of now, no Phillies have tested positive which is a good sign, but the Marlins will not be playing until Sunday, Aug .2 at the earliest.
The good news is that no other team has had any kind of outbreak. Additionally, the Marlins only play a handful of teams and those teams all play each other too, so no team in the Central or West divisions will have any kind of exposure to any of those teams, meaning there’s no reason to shut the league down due to Miami’s current outbreak. Also, as long as we don’t get too up in arms over the disparity of games played at the end of the season to determine tiebreakers and seeding, this could be a non-issue as soon as the team is cleared.
The real issue, though, is the blatant lack of safety guidelines the league has put in place. The league and players were too busy squabbling with each other for weeks that being in an MLB clubhouse is not an especially safe place to be at the moment, as evidenced by the amount of time it took for a team to break out. One weekend was all it took.
The best we can hope for is that the Marlins do not play again until every player tests negative on consecutive tests and the threat is contained there. From there, maybe the MLB was just the first through the wall and the NHL and NBA can follow through safely in the coming days -- their plans appear much safer anyways.
But that isn’t guaranteed to happen. It was already foolish on the MLB’s part to allow the Marlins to play with several positive tests in the clubhouse, especially with them being on the road. Any team in Philadelphia’s opposing locker room (currently the New York Yankees) or in the same hotel the Marlins stayed at is now at risk. It’s clear the league needs to bump their precautions and immediately. The season has only begun, and if things don’t tighten up quickly, it could end even quicker.