Maximum Marlins
July 27, 2020

The Miami Marlins decided to play after positive COVID-19 tests on Sunday via a group text. You can’t make this stuff up

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Mitchell Leff

By now you’ve probably already heard: The MLB season is in the balance . . . again. On Monday, 13 members of the Miami Marlins—including both players and coaching staff—tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the postponement of both the Marlins’ home opener against the Orioles and Yankees-Phillies, the latter of which the Marlins faced in a three-hour-and-forty-four minute game in Philadelphia on Sunday. Before that game, scheduled starting pitcher Jose Urena, along with two other Marlins players, was scratched after testing positive for COVID-19, but according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Marlins banded together and made the decision to play based on one of humankind’s most proven, accepted methodologies, passed down from generation to generation since the dawn of time: A group text message.

Yes, this is the most Marlins thing ever.

The disastrophe of a decision began when manager Don Mattingly passed the buck to Marlins shortstop and “unofficial team captain” Miguel Rojas.

“He’s always texting the group and getting the feelings of the group.” Mattingly told reporters, “So when we’re dealing with situations or things, that’s usually who we’re working through.”

Ah yes, situations or things. Like say, A DEADLY MONTHS-LONG, GLOBAL ECONOMY-CRIPPLING PANDEMIC?!

And what did Rojas tell the guys?

“We made the decision that we’re going to continue to do this and we’re going to continue to be responsible and just play the game as hard as we can,” Rojas said.

Can’t play much faster or looser with the definition of responsible, folks. Trust me, I know. I’m millennial. Anyway, here's Marlins CEO Derek Jeter on navigating these "uncharted waters." (Is now really the time for puns, Jeets?)

Jokes aside, if the Marlins’ process doesn’t seem by the book, that’s because it isn’t. Part of the problem is Marlins leadership's complete disregard for the safety of the Phillies and their stadium staff, as well as the day-to-day viability of baseball in America. Decisions like this need to be made through official channels with official input by team and league doctors, not some iMessage thread usually reserved for ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ gifs. The other problem is that said book—the MLB’s COVID operations manual issued to every employee of every club before the beginning of the season—is 113 pages long.

Maybe if we gave these guys bullet points and not ‘Great Expectations,’ Marlins, Orioles, Yankees, and Phillies fans would be seeing baseball today. Maybe if the Marlins or Mattingly or Jeter or literally just any single warm body in an organization hopelessly devoid of them had stepped up and said hey, let’s do something new for a change and not completely self destruct, we’d be seeing baseball tomorrow and possibly even football after that. Instead the travelling sports roadshow—in stark contrast to bubble-based peers like the NHL and MLS, which both returned zero positive tests this week—tripped over the very first hurdle. Whether or not they even reach the second one remains to be seen.