At some point you just have to shake your head and say out loud, to your pet of choice, “These are the people in charge?” No, no, don’t worry — this isn’t a political rant, but rather a baseball fan being incredulous at how MLB and MLBPA have approached 2020.
It’s bad enough that they frittered away June squabbling over money while the US was actually faring better with the virus and MLB had the chance to take center stage as the darlings of all sports.
Who could have imagined that their judgment would actually be worse when it came to deciding how to try to coax a season out of a pandemic? A season that is already, after 9 days, in serious jeopardy with multiple members of the Cardinals testing positive just days after Marlin-gate.
Pretty obviously (so obviously that people quite like myself, but not limited to me, said it repeatedly), there was no chance a season was going to move forward for any appreciable length of time if players and coaches had contact outside of the “MLB bubble”.
So exposing teams to 30 cities and venues was a bad enough idea, but worse was the policy of using hope and strong recommendations to keep players out of the general community between games.
I don’t personally have to look far to see how the virus interacts with young men their 20s. Berkeley did an exemplary job of flattening the curve from March through the end of June, with just 166 total cases identified in 4 months, nearly an average of just one new case per day.
Then some of the Berkeley fraternaties decided it was really important to hold wild 4th of July parties in complete violation of every policy, rule, law, or common sense. Berkeley’s total number cases at the end of July? 394, otherwise known as 226 cases in July alone.
So in one fell lapse of judgment or caring about the community around them, a few irresponsible young men undid 4 months of everyone else’s sheltering in place, wearing masks and avoiding social contact.
How I feel in Berkeley is probably how A’s players feel about their Marlins bretheren, as A’s players confine themselves to lonely Seattle hotel rooms knowing that if they were to irresponsibly hangout in downtown clubs and bars — as it’s coming out now that Marlins players are believed to have done — they would mess it up not just for themselves but for everyone else too.
But did MLB/MLBPA see this coming? Apparently they were the only two entities who thought they could use hope and recommendations to convince young athletes not to go out on the town when they were bored.
Now they are instituting “compliance officers” to travel with each team and actually enforce protocols. This is not something the two sides could have figured out would be needed 2 weeks ago, but had to come to by watching the utterly obvious unfold?
Unsupervised young people making bad choices that harm more than just themselves???? Well shoot, that never happens. Perhaps the compliance officers can try, as their first move, slamming shut that barn door.
An eleventeen-hundred page book on safety protocols, and evidently just two areas were overlooked: actually enforcing the protocols, and what to do if somehow the strategy of “hope” didn’t work.
And here we are. I thought the biggest problem was that the two sides hated each other so much that they were more invested in publicly rejecting anything the other said than they were in getting baseball games played. But now it appears we have an even greater issue: neither side seems to be very bright.
Because if you couldn’t see coming precisely what has unfolded, then you will probably be shocked when Tim Wakefield throws a knuckle-ball, even more so when the sun rises in the east tomorrow morning.
Just as I blame Berkeley’s frat boys for their selfish and idiotic behavior, but blame their parents more for not raising them right, I have my share of disgust at the players who betrayed the flock but reserve my biggest eyerolls for the “parents” who set them up to fail.
Enjoy your 9-game season, MLB, if that’s what it turns out to be. Apparently it takes a couple connected brain cells to get into double digits.