ST. LOUIS — Too big to fail? Not the Major League Baseball regular season in 2020. With every waking day, the plan seems to fall apart even more. A method of madness that didn't include placing players and personnel in a bubble to prep for COVID-19 and its limitless wrath.
Rob Manfred, along with the owners and Players Association, determined that 60 games plus a postseason with more teams would be the benefit to 2020's doubt. After supposedly meeting with the greatest medical minds in the world (the ones who didn't charge as much probably), Manfred and company got their season.
It's quickly falling apart-and it didn't even take a week.
A weekend of games couldn't even sleep it off before the Miami Marlins had multiple players test positive. A series with the Philadelphia Phillies was postponed, rescheduled for possibly never. It turns out the Marlins simply broke protocol and went out and about in between games. If you think Major League Baseball players are going to follow orders due to their birth certificate concealing their lack of grownup skills, think again. These are children at a playground.
Friday morning, the St. Louis Cardinals were the latest to hit the COVID jigsaw. At first it was two players, but before long the number grew to at least five. Coach or player, it doesn't really matter. Everything is a setback if a positive test starts to multiply. It makes games disappear and casts doubt on the rest of their schedule.
With the season already a sprint, how many more setbacks can the league handle? It's August, by the way. How much longer before Manfred and his cronies decide enough is enough. They, not health professionals, hold the detonation switch in their hands.
I understand that positive tests don't mean sickness. Players and coaches could be asymptomatic, simply carrying the virus without allowing it to beat them up. But positive tests make the general public uneasy, and they are the ultimate consumers. There are a large pack of sports fans who adore the sport yet didn't believe the 2020 season was necessary. What was known as a negative from the get-go doesn't need too many engine failures to crash.
Major League Baseball could have followed the NHL's suit and operated in a bubble. They could have chosen to get ahead of the opposition, doing their best to keep an edge on the virus. But they were aggressively arrogant instead, pledging their hopes on empty science and wounded money dreams. They didn't use their heads, and their sport is starting to crumble.
If 2020 has been more unkind to a sport than baseball, I'd like to know where. Baseball kicked things off in 2020 with the realization that the Houston Astros cheated their way to a World Series trophy. After COVID struck down, they stumbled out of the gate, getting into a premature labor war instead of trying to establish progress and inspire hope. A very public dispute made every update seem ugly and childish compared to the struggle happening elsewhere in the world.
Now, inside a week of play, there are two teams with a load of positive tests. Just another blow to a plan that was hollow to begin. Baseball being back is great for a lot of reasons, but they will all crumble to the ground in importance when cases continue to rise due to its existence. It's that push and pull every person has in them, trying to decide if a ballgame on the radio is worth it.
I started at agnostic, but have grown weary of every bad update. I felt like the need to get back to work was paramount, but then it became a less-stable thought. While having actual games to write about and analyze is good for the soul, there are healthier routes to that feeling. The last thing I want to do is tell others how to think about a delicate situation. All I have is what's going inside and around me. Baseball's return was triumphant and felt good, but it's never been a must-have during these strange and increasingly chaotic times.
Eventually, this won't be a good idea at all and the season will be gone. Each game started feels like a gift, one that doesn't have a future. A Twitter follower of mine brought up a good point today. Do we deserve baseball as a whole right now?
The Washington Nationals pitcher tweeted those comments out months ago when this all started to commence. Harsh yet true statements about a world that is in too much disarray to carry a need for sports. You can lean on the "larger things to worry about" idea or just agree it's not the time.
Two teams have come down with positive tests, halting their season in its tracks. The Cardinals last played a baseball game on Wednesday night in Minnesota. Will they get back out there again?
Yes, but I don't think it'll last long.