Grand League’s Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport does not do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could close for the season. sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN.
The league and players recognize the following days are a critical match following an explosion between the Miami Marlins in which 18 players and two coaches tested positive for COVID-19. Two positive tests from St. Louis players. The Louis Cardinals on Friday raised concerns within the sport about the presence of the coronavirus and whether MLB protocols are being properly followed by players to prevent outbreaks similar to that of Miami.
If another explosion materializes, Manfred, who has the power to close the season, could move in that direction. Many players reported the call for fear that the season could close as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue to strictly adhere to league protocols.
State and local governments have put pressure on baseball over players withdrawing mandates outlined in the 113-page league operations manual, sources told ESPN. Reports showing players with high fish, saliva and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how seriously the players are taking protocols, sources said.
Further, there is concern about off-field elections, with a senior official saying: “There are some bad decisions being made.”
The Cardinals game against the Milwukee Brewers was postponed to Friday and resumed on a Sunday with two hosts. Already, the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who last played Miami on Sunday, missed scheduled matches, leaving 20% of the league’s Friday list empty.