Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association CEO Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn̵7;t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, the season could shut down, sources in the conversation told ESPN.
The league and players acknowledge that the following days are a critical point after the Miami Marlins outbreak, in which 18 players and two coaches tested positive for COVID-19. Two positive tests of players Louis Cardinals on Friday raised concerns in the sport about the presence of the coronavirus and whether the commonly agreed protocols were being followed correctly to prevent Miami-like outbreaks.
Should there be another outbreak, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Several players informed of the challenge fear that the season could end on Monday if positive tests jump out or if players continue to not strictly adhere to the league’s protocols.
State and local governments put pressure on baseball to encircle the mandates outlined in the league’s 113-page operations manual, ESPN sources said. The broadcasts, which showed players great pleasure, spitting and not wearing masks, let government officials think about how serious players take protocols, sources said.
There are also concerns about off-field decisions, with one senior official saying, “There are some bad decisions.”
The Cardinals’ match against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed to Friday and moved to Sunday with two heads. The Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who last played Miami on Sunday, were already missing scheduled games, leaving 20% of the league’s slate.