The 2020 baseball season is wavering, a house built on a questionable foundation, with two walls gradually closing that can inspire occupants to flee before they collapse.
On the one hand: the constant spectrum of COVID-19, which devastated most of the Miami Marlins’ list, threatens to do the same with the St. Louis Cardinals and constantly weighs on the minds of athletes and employees.
On the other hand: the real part of baseball, where the mitigation of the virus compromises what in simpler times we could call “the integrity of the game”.
Now, this desire for integrity is replaced by a simple desire: make nine (or less) entries and get out of bed as soon as possible.
Just consider all the collective shrugs and pursed lips that the game has endured in two weeks:
Orioles players wear masks when they enter the hideout before the game against the Yankees. (Photo: Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports)
Rip Blue Jays out of Canada and send them on the road all year? Whatever.
A runner placed on second base in extra-inning games? Right.
Home teams playing in their opponents’ stadium? Why not.
Seven-turn doubleheaders, as if this were a glorified junior high school tournament, and not the highest level of baseball in the world? Do what you have to do.
Call the cavalry baseball equivalent by signing off-street players and tapping deeply into your “Alternative Training Site” to put up a team? Hey, next man.
Determine playoff points by winning percentage, even if one team plays closer to 50 games while another plays 60? October does not wait for anyone.
Spend almost all of your preparation before the game, not on spray graphics or hitting practice or video analysis, but testing more than 100 players and club staff after an infected team passed your stadium?
As players often say, it is only part of it.
The final scenario came on Friday, after two St. Louis Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19 days after playing at Target Field in Minneapolis. The twins and the Cleveland Indians had already played a game in the meantime, but after the Marlins’ coronavirus storm in Philadelphia – 21 players and positive testers, plus two Phillies employees – nothing was left to chance.
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MARLINS: Team pauses its 2020 season after outbreak of COVID-19
And rightly so. With that in mind, Target Field was transformed into a true pediatric clinic, the twins showing up every hour of the day to be tested, some of them still waiting for the nasal swab at the service location less than three hours before the first shot.
“We are not going to be able to do much, when it comes to baseball, before today’s game,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
Let’s pause our COVID-19 mentality for just a second and reflect on it. The twins and Indians finished 1-2 at AL Central last season, and as far as these things can be predicted, they were expected to battle similarly in this 60-game season.
With only 50 games remaining this season, it is what can be called a great series. And yet, 113 pages of protocols still fail to isolate two teams that, according to appearances, did everything right to get around this pandemic.
“It is something that is not lost on us,” said Baldelli before his team closed the Indians 5-0. “It was an unusual day. There are still guys waiting outside to take the test.
“These are the realities that our guys live with. They know that. They accepted everything very well and I am sure it will be no different. “
And that was before at least five more Cardinals players and teams had a positive result, once again postponing the opening of the series in Milwaukee and probably the entire series.
That would bring to 15 the number of makeup games needed in a season that was already compacted in just 66 days.
It was impressive to hear the anxious tone of typically hardened players, managers and executives, only to see them push a button and compete on a world-class level minutes later.
However, how much longer can they maintain this? How much more can the walls close?
Finally, the now 17 players who have chosen to leave the season may seem like visionaries; Marlins’ second baseman, Isan Diaz, joined this group on Saturday with a heartbreaking post.
Isan Díaz’s statement on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/knCeskVVDK
– Daniel Álvarez Montes (@DanielAlvarezEE) August 1, 2020
David Price, a Dodgers beginner, couldn’t help but dodge the safety of Opt-out Land when the Marlins outbreak occurred, and there were certainly active players waving at him.
Stephen Strasburg, who will remain a World Series MVP until the game can safely stage another Fall Classic, raised his eyebrows, but also got it right when explaining why throwing a nervous issue at the hand he played didn’t make sense in 2020.
“To be honest, this season is kind of a mess, so I have to think of a big picture here,” said Strasburg after being pulled out of the Washington Nationals’ second game. “It is my career.
“I know that, in the long run, it is important to try to make as many matches as possible and, putting yourself in a compromising position now, I don’t know if this is the best way to go.”
It is hard to imagine that it doesn’t get any weirder, any more ugly. It only took 10 days for Major League Baseball to kick-start the blame game, warning the Marlins for violating protocols, as if they could definitely trace the outbreak in a lobby bar or nightclub and not the team from one of the most coronavirus. soaked counties in the country.
We will see what explanation emerges for the apparent outbreak of cardinals.
Furthermore, it wasn’t the Marlins’ players who scored a pit stop in Atlanta to play a couple of totally meaningless display games. Certainly, they voted to play for the Phillies when an outbreak was taking place at their club, but that should not be their calling.
There were no clearly defined protocols for when to start the game, as the twins’ GM Derek Falvey confirmed on Friday. This lesson was learned in the most difficult way, and we imagine that both teams and the league will move much more aggressively to stop the game going forward.
The Marlins have yet to put together a team. On Friday night, the Baltimore Orioles traded one of its most trusted relievers, southpaw Richard Bleier, to Miami. What is it like to be negotiated with a team that supposedly chartered buses to transport your infected team from Philly to Miami?
“I hope everything is under control,” Bleier told reporters after his last game as an oriole. “I’m getting into an unsafe situation. It’s definitely something I’m aware of, but I’m not too concerned. They are not going to take me anywhere where there will be a problem.
You would think not.
Lessons are being learned, protocols are doubled and things should ostensibly run more smoothly. There are still 52 to 57 games left, depending on your team’s ability to avoid the virus.
After considering everything that was committed just to get eight games, it’s hard to imagine what the game would look like after 52 more.
Particularly if the walls gradually keep closing.
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