MLB players are not happy with the Miami Marlins. At least two MLB players demanded better from their colleagues after a report emerged suggesting Marlins players did not take coronavirus protocols seriously.
Marlins games are postponed until Monday after at least 17 players on the team tested positive for coronavirus. An MLB investigation into the outbreak found the team violated recommendations from the league and went out, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. called for every player in MLB to “take a good hard look” at their actions away from the field.
Every player in this league better take a hard look at what you’re doing off the field, because what you do affects, more than just you and your team. Your decisions off the field will put all of our seasons in jeopardy this year.
— Steven Souza Jr. (@SouzaJr) July 31, 2020
Souza didn’t mention the Marlins specifically, but his tweet came just hours after the Marlins report was made public.
An anonymous veteran player took things ever further, telling the New York Post the Marlins deserve a harsh punishment, and that the league should step up and provide teams with stricter regulations.
“I believe we need stricter regulation to prevent the 10 percent of the players and teams, such as the entire Marlins organization, from taking baseball down. I think they should suspend the Marlins from 2020 and go with 29 teams. Most of the players and staff, and their families, are making big sacrifices to make this work. The ones that are not should sit out and let the more dedicated ones play. They don’t have the mental discipline for this. If playing golf and going out to eat is more important, then opt out. If wearing a mask is such an infringement of their rights, then opt out. If your political leanings are more important than your job, then opt out.”
Another player reportedly told teammates he would get them traded if they didn’t take protocols seriously.
A person connected to a very prominent player told me the player warned teammates that if they screw things up, he'll get them traded. "And he could do it, too."
— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) July 31, 2020
Rob Manfred tells players to season will end if virus can’t be contained
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred also sent a message to players, telling the MLBPA he could stop play as soon as Monday if the coronavirus outbreak isn’t contained, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
While the Marlins have seen a huge spike in cases, players from the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals have all tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the season. Both the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals have seen positive tests, though the majority of those occurred before games started.
MLB bears some responsibility in making players take coronavirus seriously
As the anonymous veteran player told the New York Post, players might take things more seriously if MLB offered up stricter regulations. While MLB has recommended players wear masks and do not go out at night, the league is depending on every team — and player — to follow those instructions, according to the Washington Post.
MLB’s 113-page operations manual dedicated one paragraph to it, writing individuals “must exercise care,” adding that they should avoid restaurants, bars and other crowded areas. MLB left each team to craft and enforce its own policy. Four players, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss a sensitive topic, said this is MLB’s way of avoiding responsibility should an outbreak occur.
The league has made adjustments to its policy in an attempt to curb another outbreak, but MLB’s policies aren’t as strict as the ones put in place by the NBA, where players face long quarantine periods for violating league protocol.
Some MLB teams are following strict guidelines
As Souza’s tweet suggests, some players have imposed strict guidelines on themselves in order to continue with the season. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo drew attention during Chicago’s first game for handing out hand sanitizer at first base. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner detailed all the way the Dodgers are taking extra precautions in 2020, including making masks mandatory in the dugout and regulating when coaches can be in specific areas.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) August 1, 2020
Prior to the start of the season, the Los Angeles Angels agreed to avoid large gatherings and wear masks in public so they could stay healthy.
While that is encouraging, all it takes is one team — or one player — to wreck the season. The Marlins were the first example of that.
MLB and its players need to hope that’s the only example if they hope to complete the season.
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