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Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. rips Rob Manfred over MLB's handling of coronavirus: 'I'm embarrassed'

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Chicago Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. isn’t happy with the way baseball has handled the coronavirus. Souza ripped MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday, saying Souza was “embarrassed” to see what’s happening around the league right now.

Souza made those comments while appearing on the Tiki & Tierney show. Souza was asked about how the league and Manfred have adjusted to the pandemic and the postponements in 2020. Souza said he wasn’t sure how things would play out, but felt the 16-team playoffs might allow some teams to get in that deserved it, but were maybe impacted by the coronavirus along the way.

Souza then turned his attention to Manfred, ripping the commissioner for his handling of the situation.

“I’m probably going to be a little biased here, but I just don’t think we’ve handled this since the beginning very well. I don’t think what Manfred has done for the sport has been very good. I don’t think the way that everything was publicly humiliated was good. I just don’t think it’s been good.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed as a player to watch this take place because when I leave this game, I want to leave it for the generations and we do this for the fans, and there’s just been so much distraction and so much hidden agendas in all these discussions that it’s almost been just embarrassing, like I said. I don’t know any other way to put it.”

A closeup of Steven Souza Jr. in the dugout.
Steven Souza Jr. urged players to take the coronavirus seriously after the Marlins' outbreak. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Steven Souza urged players to take coronavirus seriously

It’s the second time in four days Souza has issued a strong statement about how baseball is handling the coronavirus.

On Friday, Souza urged other players around the league to re-evaluate how they were acting away from the field. Souza’s statement came the same day there was a report the Miami Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak started because players went to a hotel bar. Marlins owner Derek Jeter refuted that story Monday.

Most MLB teams are being responsible

After ripping Manfred on Monday, Souza stressed the players are taking the virus seriously. He said the other 29 teams — excluding Miami — are “doing all they can with safety protocols.”

The Cubs have not had any positive coronavirus tests. On opening day, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo received attention after handing out hand sanitizer at first base.

While the Cubs have stayed safe, the NL Central has experienced an outbreak. Thirteen members of the St. Louis Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Cardinals will continue to quarantine in Milwaukee — where they were when the first positive tests occurred — but hope to resume their season Friday, when they’ll begin a series with the Cubs.

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