MLB 2020: The Risk Is Far Greater Than The Reward

COVID-19 is a difficult opponent.  

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Tony Clark probably should be asking this question. Now what? The Miami Marlins franchise has been hit with an outbreak of COVID-19. The situation probably was anticipated by everyone connected to Major League Baseball. Now there is a question of how many people have been exposed to the Marlins players and contact tracing is a must because it is more than the Marlins players as the team’s personnel has been flying and stayed at hotels and transported to ballparks. The team has played in Atlanta in a warmup game and in Philadelphia as part of the 60-game regular season. The Marlins players and staff are not the only baseball people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the baseball is back show started a couple of weeks ago. Washington Nationals player Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19 on opening day July 23rd. Cincinnati Reds player Matt Davidson tested positive for COIVD-19 on July 25th a day after he was in the Reds opening day lineup.

Major League Baseball is being played because there is money from television that is on the table. There is also a demand for the product because people want to watch baseball. The July 23rd opening night game on the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN between the New York Yankees and Washington had around four million viewers and was the most watched MLB regular season contest on any network since 2011. It took a long time for Manfred’s owners and Clark’s players to come up with an agreement to play the 2020 season.  Both sides anticipated some players getting the virus and each team has up to 60 players available to play. The players and staff and support service people are taking the risk but ultimately what is the reward?