Major League Baseball has informed their players union this week that several major-league players and coaches have recently tested positive for Covid-19. The announcement comes shortly after the players union heard a pitch to begin baseball season under new regulations; there’s been a massive hold up for baseball specifically over labor disputes and salary.
Now, these new cases may cancel the season altogether. Fears of a second-wave have already flooded the nation as over 20 states have now reported new cases of the virus within the past week. MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem said that the second-wave worries were the initial reason that they wanted to end the season by September 27th in their initial proposal.
However, MLB fans were quick to attack the MLB for delaying the season as a way of getting out of playing regular games and getting straight to the playoffs; a claim Halem has adamantly denied, stating that the players and staffs health and safety has always been the top priority when discussing the future of the 2020 season.
Halem recently wrote a letter to lead union attorney Bruce Meyer, stating: “Your recent letters have all expressed the concern, in one form or another, that players are being ‘asked to take on extraordinary burdens and risks in the current environment. However, the Association’s proposals to play as many games as possible, as deep into the fall as possible, increases the health risks to players and staff, which is not something we are prepared to do.”
Halem went on to claim that he and the players disagree with Meyer’s “assertion that [their] concern about player health and safety in the midst of the greatest health crisis in our lifetime is a ‘pretext’ to play fewer games.” He then cited a letter from the Office of the Commissioner from March that claimed the MLB would be using their best efforts to start the 2020 season, however, player health and safety was going to be the biggest concern.
Obviously in March, a majority of the country was remaining blissfully ignorant at the reality of a worldwide health pandemic occurring. However, as time quickly showed us, this is definitely one of the biggest public health crises the world has ever seen. That same attitude has transferred over into every job industry, especially in regards to entertainment/sports.
At the end of March the MLB, along with other major sports leagues in America, all made comprehensive plans of ways to continue on their sports season once cases of Covid began to decrease. Unfortunately as we all know, the cases only continued to increase, and at an exponential rate.
Medical and health officials who have worked with the MLB and its players in the past have already warned executives that they should anticipate that the virus situation will be getting much worse in the fall.
“The proliferation of COVID-19 outbreaks around the country over the last week, and the fact that we already know of several 40-man roster players and staff who have tested positive, has increased the risks associated with commencing spring training in the next few weeks. I note that both the NBA and NHL, two leagues which you repeatedly reference in your letter, do not intend to resume play until about August 1, and both intend to resume play at a limited number of sites with a quarantine approach,” Halem continued in his letter.
For now, like every other industry and system in the world, only time will tell how much worse this pandemic will get/impact the future of sports entertainment. In the meantime it’s important to remain diligent when out in public and always wear a mask, socially distance, and disinfect when you return home.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.