MLB commissioner: ‘No reason to quit now’
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Saturday that Major League Baseball’s (MLB) season would continue, despite numerous positive coronavirus tests among players in recent days.
Speaking with ESPN, Manfred claimed that there was “no reason” for professional baseball to go on hold even as more than a dozen games have been postponed in the last few weeks.
“We are playing,” Manfred said. “The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”
“I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season and get through the postseason,” he added in a separate interview with The Associated Press the same day.
His comments follow the suspension of the Miami Marlins’ 2020 season, which league officials announced last week in response to 17 positive diagnoses of coronavirus among players on the team. The team had been set to play the Washington Nationals over the weekend, but Nationals players voted overwhelmingly to skip the series over news of the infections even before MLB made its decision.
A separate, smaller outbreak has since been reported among the St. Louis Cardinals, affecting one player and several staff members.
“Given the current circumstances, MLB believes it is most prudent to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and planning their Baseball Operations for a resumption early next week,” the league said in a statement released last Tuesday.
COVID-19 concerns have led to the suspension of 17 games in the last two weeks, ESPN noted.
Despite his public comments, Manfred reportedly told the head of the MLB Player’s Association last Friday that the league could shut down play if players and staff do not do a better job of managing the virus.
“The protocols are a series of little things that people need to do. We’ve had some problems. In order to be better, it’s another series of little things. I think it’s peer pressure. I think it’s players taking personal responsibility. I think it’s the union helping us like Tony Clark helped us yesterday. And I think it’s us managing more aggressively,” he added to the AP.
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