MLB is hoping to get the spread of the virus among players, coaches and staff under control. Last week, there were 16 games postponed, which is going to cause a scheduling nightmare for some teams to play all 60 games in the amount of days left in the season. Six teams didn’t play due to the virus and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain just opted out of the season due to concerns with the latest cases. Rob Manfred has been in contact with the Players Association to warn that it may become necessary to suspend the season if teams do not follow protocols and get the virus in the game under control.
How can this get under control? The bubble is working in other sports, so why didn’t MLB use the same format to return to play. Well the idea was floated around and would have taken place in Arizona, Texas, Florida or maybe even split locations. There were a few reasons it didn’t work out: players didn’t want to be away from their families, the Arizona heat in August is extreme, quarantining 900 players plus coaches and staff for over 3 months was a difficult task and the virus spiked in the locations that were considered for the bubble. So, making it work in MLB proved to be a difficult task without enough support to get it done.
MLB has 113 pages of protocols for players, coaches and staff to follow during the game and outside of the game. There have been changes to the protocols since the Marlins had their outbreak: mandatory surgical masks instead of cloth and each team must have a compliance officer. What MLB has in place is not perfect, but players, coaches and staff have to take responsibility and do what is right to help prevent the spread of the virus. Watching the games, I still see players high-fiving, spitting, not wearing masks in the dugout and not distancing themselves when possible. Players have to do what it takes to be safe, that may mean quarantining at home, limiting access to anyone outside of your house and following the rules while playing. Controlling the spread of the virus in the game can only happen if everyone follows the rules set by MLB and thinks of others before making a decision that can lead to contracting and spreading the virus.