By Larry Johnson
Fifteen members of the Miami Marlins’ traveling squad have tested positive for COVID-19,
That’s already resulted in the postponement of two games with the Baltimore Orioles.
The sports world can certainly live without Marlins-Orioles games. The Marlins aren’t very good and the Orioles will be lucky not to be the worst team in Major League Baseball this season.
And now, the Yankees-Phillies game today has been postponed for the same reason.
What I wonder, though, is how this impacts not only the rest of the MLB season, but also the sports scheduled to follow baseball.
Even if college football is played in empty stadiums, and even if nonconference games are cancelled, how will college football protect its players and staffs in a sport that necessarily includes far more than the 30 members of the MLB traveling squads?
Or will they, in fact, protect the players at all?
The Marlins MAY have played late last week knowing that some of their players were sick. I don’t absolutely know if this is true or not, but several sources say so. If they did, of course, it’s all about the money. If they did, shame on them.
Even if they didn’t, I wonder how MLB will make even its short season work. Teams are traveling, risking exposure to the virus. Contact with players who have traveled from other cities is virtually impossible to avoid. Airports, travel itself, drivers and hotels all pose additional risks.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says the Marlins situation is manageable. But where have we heard that before, from people who are vested in protecting financial interests? From Donald Trump, and from the governors of red American states pushing to reopen their economies. That’s where.
College football, too, is huge money.
The NCAA pushes the narrative of the noble “student athlete,” but the sport is really far more about huge payoffs for the colleges and universities that field the teams.
I’d love to trust both the NCAA and MLB to do the right thing and protect their players. But having repeatedly seen proof that the bottom line is the bottom line, that trust comes hard.