If your Twitter timeline looks something like mine, you will be flooded with variations of the “Baseball 2020 season is about to collapse!” headlines and hot takes after the Marlins, first, and then the cardinals treated coronavirus outbreaks.
Here’s the truth: It’s not about to collapse. It really isn’t real.
Do you want evidence to support that position? John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations of the Cardinals, was asked by a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Hochman during a Zoom press conference on Tuesday night to think of the darkest moments of a time when 13 people on his team were on trip batch of 57 were tested positive for COVID-19, which would cancel the season of the Cardinals.
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“No, I never thought that,” said Mozeliak from the Milwaukee hotel room, where he had been quarantined for a few days. “I don’t think Major League Baseball wanted that to happen, so I was never under that … I mean, of course we did that other camp, so at some point we could have let other people play.”
Baseball wants this season to continue, and for better or worse, this season isn’t going to be dropped by a team-centered outbreak or two. And Mozeliak prepared, if need be, to actually replace his entire active squad with players from the alternate site.
And yes, there was a moment when he thought that could really happen.
“My darkest moment is when you go back to Saturday and Sunday when the numbers kept going the wrong way,” said Mozeliak. “Our little world consisted of 57 people, but it still followed in a very frustrating way to where I thought,” Oh God, this can actually bring anyone here. “That would have been terrible.”
The final number was 13: six players and seven staff, of whom only eight had symptoms.
Earlier this week – before that unfortunate number of positives were announced – I wrote that MLB has a real chance of being a true leader for this country and that we – all of us – need to learn to live with the corona virus. It does not go away on its own, and even the final development of a vaccine does not mean that it will disappear immediately.
So we have to learn to live with COVID-19 in the real world. The Cardinals – and Marlins to them – learn those lessons, learn that planning and preparation are not enough, and they teach them in a very public way. The hope is that the rest of the sport – and the country – will listen.
“We must be responsible if we go back to St. Louis,” said Mozeliak, “and that’s something we’ll preach and pop hard at the tables because it can’t be taken lightly.”
The cardinals do not know or have announced exactly how COVID-19 has entered their ranks, but it is important that they find out and pass on the information. Of course, they can’t do that without the blessing of the person / people who initially contracted the virus – HIPPA and all – but we hope that person / people understand the importance of transparency and step forward to say, ‘ Here are the mistakes made and how to avoid them in the future. ”
While 13 people who test positive are many, Mozeliak knows it could have been worse.
‘If you go back to where we think this started, and on Thursday (a rotten day in the planning), we never met as a group. People were scattered, they were everywhere, but we were never 57 together, ”he said. “I think that really changed our trajectory, which is scary because we still had 13 positive points. I think if we had a match that day and treated it like a normal day – which we would have because we wouldn’t have known those positives – I think we would have looked at a catastrophe. That may not be the right word because it is not that big, but you know what I mean. A very dramatic effect on this team. The 13 could easily have doubled. ‘
It is undoubtedly a scary thought. And hopefully this is the wake-up call of the rest of the people in MLB, those who don’t take it as seriously as they should, those who don’t strictly follow the protocols – not to say MLB’s protocols are infallible because they don’t have to take the actions necessary to protect themselves, their teammates and their sport.
“Look, this was a very unique experience to say the least,” said Mozeliak. “Eye opening. Learning. I don’t want to have to do it again. But I know you can control what you can control, and you could clearly be susceptible to it. … The best for all of us who have experienced this is to understand all these recommendations when they are talking about wearing a face mask, when they are talking about social distance These are things that you will see this club practice even better They realize the importance of what they just have “and they don’t want to do it again. That’s not to say it won’t happen again, but they don’t want to repeat it.”
I hope everyone in MLB – and the country – listens.