The Rays defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Tuesday night, their winning streak now at four games. This puts them in first place in the American League East. You can read more about last night’s game here.
Season hanging by a thread, cont.
I had hoped that I would be able to write a View from the Catwalk column which didn’t focus on the coronavirus. I know this pandemic will be with us for a while but I have really enjoyed being able to focus a little on baseball, and hoped we could be fighting over the use of the four man outfield and little else.
But that is not to be. At first the only positive tests were from players and staff returning from their homes; the weeks of summer camp went by with few new COVID-19 cases. But just a few games into the season, the Miami Marlins have reported at last count some 17 new cases, mostly among players but also including a few members of the staff. The Marlins had been playing in Philadelphia when this was revealed. As a result, the Phillies were all tested; the clubhouse assistant in the visitor’s clubhouse tested positive, but thus far no one else on the Phillies appear to have been affected (keep in mind that tests performed immediately after infection can yield false negatives).
One of the glaring holes in MLB’s process is that there an approximately 48 hour period between a player getting tested and receiving results. This means there will always be men on the field who are waiting for test results — which could end up as positive. Players who are symptomatic can be sent home while awaiting test results, but so many players have been asymptomatic. Absent reliable instant COVID-19 tests, there is always some risk that an infected player is sitting in the dugout. This is why maintaining distancing protocols remains so crucial.
As of this writing, MLB has taken the following steps: They have put the Marlins on “pause,” and cancelled or rearranged games involving Miami as well as some games between the Phillies and Yankees as Phillies players await additional testing.
Even if the league decides to forge ahead with the season, will players and coaches rethink their participation? Davey Martinez, for example, suffers from heart disease and is worried about what would happen if he were to get infected. The Nationals team voted not to travel to Miami for a planned series out of concern for their health — the decision to shut the Marlins down makes this, in any case, moot.
My guess is that whether we have a season moving forward very much depends on whether this outbreak seems to be confined to the Marlins, in which case games can go on around them, or whether we see hotspots among other teams. Stay tuned!
Charlie Morton has a pretty fatalistic approach to this pandemic! But his message of taking care of yourself and considering the needs of your teammates can’t hurt:
The #Rays Charlie Morton feels like personally he will get COVID at some point whether it's in 60 days or 6 years, but also doesn't feel he's at any more risk at the ballpark than anywhere else.— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) July 28, 2020
Goal is to protect his teammates.
Manager arguments in an age of COVID-19 (and old friend alert — we see you Derek Shelton):
Elie Mystal is a legal affairs writer for The Nation; he’s also a Mets fan. And he thinks the current season teetering on the precipice is not surprising.
Baseball links and tweets NOT about COVID
- Juan Toribio recaps the Rays Monday night offensive onslaught.
- Austin Meadows is regaining strength after recovering from COVID-19; he is in Port Charlotte ($).
- Corey Kluber is out for the season.
- Diego Castillo has returned from paternity leave; Daniel Robertson has been sent back to the Alternate training site to make room on the roster. Castillo showed that papa hasn’t lost a step when he came in Monday night to throw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
- Rays can bring up to three players as a traveling “taxi squad” on their upcoming road trip. Cash plans to bring Daniel Robertson and Anthony Banda; he could add a catcher as well.
- Baseball observers now have had many chances to see that runner-non-second-for-extra-innings rule in action. Some have wondered whether this practice will give rise to a new wave of bunting. After all, you are playing for one run, have no outs and a runner in scoring position. Doesn’t it make sense to move him to third as efficiently as possible? Jared Diamond in the Wall Street Journal ($) and Mike Petriello with MLB walk us through the strategies.
- St. Petersburg has issued a Request for Proposals to redevelop the Tropicana Field site.
- An old friend of the site was on the news.
- Oh, and there was a bench clearing in the Dodgers v Astros game last night:
Joe Kelly strikes out Carlos Correa. Pleasantries are exchanged ... then we get our first socially-distanced bench clearing altercation of the season.pic.twitter.com/dmQElWppqd— SI MLB (@si_mlb) July 29, 2020