It was supposed to be data that drove the play ball decision.
It seems it wasn’t too long ago that National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver was going to follow the scientific data, not money, in the attempt to restart the NBA season. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred echoed the same thought but both have changed their shared tune in the past week. Silver acknowledged that he cannot guarantee the safety of players in a quarantined bubble should NBA owners and players decide to finish out the 2019-20 season during the COVID 19 pandemic. Manfred is pushing a steady regimen of testing and contact tracking. But if a player gets COVID 19, the player will be isolated and the games would go on. “Our experts are advising us that we don’t need a 14-day quarantine,” said Manfred. “The positive individual will be removed from the group, quarantined, then contact tracing with the individual and point of care testing with the individuals to minimize the chance there’s been a spread.”
Silver and Manfred seem to be minimizing the COVID 19 risk. There aren’t just players in the baseball and basketball industries. There are coaches and managers, referees and umpires, assistant coaches, training staffs, and invisible people such as bus drivers, locker room attendants, TV camera people, people in the truck directing the television action. Some of those people are elderly, in the 60 plus age group which allegedly is more susceptible to COVID 19. But there is a financial problem. Manfred contends MLB owners will lose $4 billion should there be no 2020 season. Sports commissioners are always crying that owners lose money but it is doubtful that Manfred or Silver will allow the public to see if there is justification to crying wolf. Meanwhile cable/satellite/phone TV consumers are paying for a product that is not available. Someone is pocketing that money. Cash, not data, is pushing the games onto the field.