By Rich Mancuso/ thennyextra.com
“I wanted to play this year because I thought it would be safe. Honestly, I don’t feel that.”
Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs made that statement Monday. Atlanta Braves’ Nick Markakis opted to not play, Last week the Dodgers’ David Price. And more to come.
MLB is beginning to see the implications of their COVID-19 plan and inevitable doom of the 2020 season as they planned to finally release a truncated 60-game schedule Monday evening. Though, more of the concern is the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s, and their quick Summer camp suspensions.
MLB baseball has to be concerned. COVID-19 testing and results are not coming as quick and fast as a heater thrown by many of the star aces on the mound who could also join the opt out club.
And with an increasing rise of the Coronavirus, which has always been a priority of MLB, what will it take now to shut down the game and move on to a hopeful safe and more secure 2021 season?
Will it take a decimation of rosters due to positive test results and odds against them? Or, the unfortunate severe illness of a player or personnel associated with a team?
This is not the time for Major League Baseball to be the victim of a tragic circumstance due to COVID-19. This writer will not offer that gloom and doom but this has become a concern.
Again, unchartered territory for MLB. As the Yankees and Mets proceed with their Summer camps in the Bronx and Flushing, and with their testing protocols going without a hitch, there is that concern about the other 28 other teams in Major League Baseball.
Kris Bryant is the beginning of more statements and a possible exodus of Major League ballplayers from Summer camps.
During the past few days, thenyextra.com reached out to various players, not those affiliated with the New York logo. They are talking. They are not content with the routines set forth by MLB teams and medical protocols.
Though, MLB did comment that COVID-testing results were delayed due to the holiday weekend, which could be a poor excuse. And that also can’t account for the various comments coming in from players and the teams that shutdown workouts on Monday.
Testing was supposed to be every other day, reliable, and offer rapid results. So, there is a concern.
Players are concerned, and similar to Bryant, about this not being a safe and good time to play baseball. They mention the possibilities of positive COVID-19 cases with teammates, They are concerned about becoming the next victim that would cause a separation from families.
And the players that commented said there was that trap. They have been put in a position to report and play, They went along with the medical protocols.
Then there were those, concerned with safety, also pushed into playing with a one-year contract and the complexion of free agency that could spell the possible end of a career or not earning a guaranteed contract.
And with a surge in positive cases, nationwide, why do players need to be subjected to this unsafe and risky environment?
“Because I have no other option to play,” said another veteran player with a one-year contract with an option for next year.
Not like you or me, and with employees offering furloughs, unemployment insurance, baseball players with a union have to follow protocol. Many are not in the income brackets of those like Price, Markakis, Feix Hernandez, who have opted to stay home.
This is about the one-year deal and the possible ending of a career with no other option but to play ball. This is about the player making a MLB minimum salary and placed in that situation of risk, a trap of having no other alternative to go with the plan as set forth by MLB.
Or will it take Mike Trout, the face of baseball, to leave his Angels teammates and go home with a concern of testing positive and possibly spreading the virus to his pregnant wife?
One player said a majority are waiting to see this outcome. The outcome of another big name like Trout, Bryce Harper, or someone else that MLB needs to depend on for ratings, and the lucrative network television or regional cable contracts that need baseball this time of year,
However, as of Monday the risk of this coronavirus pandemic is definitely on the increase. MLB needs to listen and watch. The need to play baseball and the investment and safety of players is more important.
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