Does MLB cancel the 2020 season? Splitting up possible next steps after the outbreak of the Marlins coronavirus
And it has become inevitable.
The Marlins are faced with a COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse, according to multiple reports, with 11 out of 33 position players (selection and taxi team) testing positive for the corona virus. After the Marlins’ home opener was bombed against the Orioles on Monday, the Yankees vs. Phillies matchup in Philadelphia – where the Marlins had just been over the weekend – has also been canned.
This leads to more harrowing questions. Will the MLB season continue as planned?
MORE: MLB’s Coronavirus Rules, Explained
According to Craig Mish, the 2020 season is reportedly “in jeopardy” after the report that Marlins players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
Waiting to hear if the MLB 2020 season has been canceled. Nothing definitive yet. “Danger” seems to me the most texting term in the past 30 minutes.
– Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 27, 2020
Under MLB’s agreement to play the 2020 season, Rob Manfred has the power to cancel and / or suspend the season for fear of outbreaks of the corona virus. Given that the Marlins have played with four positive tests over the weekend, traveled to Philadelphia, and there is no action plan after an outbreak, MLB and Manfred are in a very precarious position about where to go.
There are some options:
Will baseball be canceled in 2020?
At this point, no official word has come down, but the season may be on the verge of cancellation or suspension. According to reports, MLB will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss its next approach.
There are a few routes Commissioner Rob Manfred could take:
1. Interrupt the season. Manfred has the option to put the season on hold to find out what they are doing right and wrong trying to establish the ship before jumping. While logic might dictate that a suspension will only lead to a cancellation, there are too many dominoes that could tip and fall: the Marlins are going to Philadelphia, the visiting clubhouse would already be disinfected, and the Yankees vs. Phillies matchup on the shelf for as long as it lasts.
2. Keep playing. Manfred may also say “Play On” and ask the Marlins to lean on guys from their alternative site to take the place of infected players.
After all, there’s a reason MLB has asked teams to build 60 player pools prior to the season: in case something like the Marlins situation happened. It remains to be seen what MLB and the Marlins will do, but it is an option.
According to MLB Commissioner Manfred has the authority to suspend / cancel the season if a team or teams go through an outbreak and compromise competitive integrity
– Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) July 27, 2020
3. The nuclear option. A MLB season cancellation is definitely on the table. It would be the nuclear option – flip the switch, pull the plug and call it a day to try baseball in 2020 and hope everything in the 2021 season is under control. It would be the most drastic, but if MLB can’t figure out its stuff, it may be the only route to take.
Why MLB didn’t “bubble” like NBA, NHL did
Bubbles, bubbles everywhere, but not a drop to … apparently be spared for MLB.
Early in MLB’s negotiations to return to play, the league considered playing games on a hub site, with Arizona as a potential destination. The Arizona plan used as many as 14 different stadiums in the greater Phoenix area to house players for the duration of a shortened season. At that time, cases in Arizona increased, but it wasn’t until June when things blew up in the state. The players, who rightly called an unfair cut in wages, decided to report Arizona’s plan.
As negotiations progressed, the bubble scenario was thrown down the road in favor of teams traveling at a shorter speed, playing schedules against their division and geographic division rivals, and that’s what MLB decided to settle for the 2020 season .
As it stands, the NBA is scheduled to return to play in a “ bubble scenario, ” with 22 teams housed at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where topics can be closely monitored and the playing environment transferred from the outside world. The NHL will play again in hub cities in Canada in August, where the Stanley Cup hunt continues in Toronto and Edmonton.
Earlier in July, Sporting News spoke to Dr. Scott Weisenberg, an infectious disease specialist, on the challenges MLB faces while not in a bubble:
I think having a bubble gives you a more manageable environment. As I said, as long as there is widespread disease in many communities in the United States, other family members or the players themselves risk picking up the disease from their community and then bringing it back into the baseball community. So it really depends on what happens everywhere else.
Hopefully, within the next few weeks, we will see a decline in the spread of the community due to all progressive public health measures, such as in New York. The fewer diseases in the community, the less risk a player will bring it back to the baseball community. Otherwise it will be very difficult.