The Loop

If you like baseball, don't read the baseball news

July 29, 2020

Kevin C. Cox

Since the return of baseball, have you been watching the games with ear muffs on, refusing to visit sites like or to read a newspaper, and saying things like, "huh, the Marlins-Orioles game is canceled again...must be some terrible weather down in Miami"? If so, you have been doing things the right way, my friend. Because if you like baseball, and you're emotionally invested in baseball continuing in the 2020 season, then you absolutely cannot take even a quick peek at anything beyond the game itself.

And for God's sake, don't read the rest of this post.




You're still here? Well, you asked for it: The news is bad, gang. First off, when three Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, they decided to play against the Nationals anyway by a group text message that was basically decided by unofficial team leader Miguel Rojas, the shortstop. Now, you might be thinking: Hold on a minute, isn't that a bad way to decide a matter of what is basically public health? Is Miguel Rojas secretly a medical expert? Is he Anthony Fauci, and if so, why was his first pitch so bad? Shouldn't MLB have a plan, or some oversight? Shouldn't the decision explicitly NOT come down to a shortstop?


The upshot is that they played the game, and 17 members of the Marlins organization eventually tested positive for coronavirus, and now all their games are canceled at least through Sunday. And of course, this had a knock-on effect on the whole league:

* The Orioles had their series against the Marlins canceled.

* The Nationals voted not to travel to Miami for their upcoming series (again, why are teams deciding this? Where is the MLB protocol??).

* The Yankees and Phillies had their series canceled, since the Phillies were the team playing the Marlins and it's too early to determine who got infected.

Also, and this is a big "also," COVID-19 tests often don't come back as positive until a person is symptomatic, which can take up to 14 days in some cases...all of which means that while MLB stumbles around trying to do "contact tracing," they're getting these guys in the very early stages of potential infection, and they may not test positive for days. Meanwhile, they can still infect their teammates and opponents before they know they're sick.

If you're seeing the start of the disaster, well, you are not alone. But the really worrisome aspect here is the lack of a plan. Without any kind of bubble, it was always going to be difficult to play this season under the best of circumstances, since baseball mandates moments of close contact. But if the important decisions are left up to individuals who aren't operating according to a solid plan, the situation moves past 'difficult' and starts crowding the plate against impossible. Time to put the ear muffs back on.