Rob Manfred Is No COVID-19 Expert

MLB needs to figure out how to be a responsible business.

Major League Baseball handlers might want to send someone other than Commissioner Rob Manfred to give MLB’s official viewpoint on the COVID-19 outbreak that has engulfed the Miami Marlins traveling party. Manfred did himself and his business no favors by downplaying the Marlins cluster when he spoke on July 27th on the business’s television house organ, the MLB Network. “I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” he said. “We don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing, but I don’t see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters. That’s why we have the expanded pools of additional players. We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.” Manfred sounded a lot like elected officials in downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak. It really doesn’t matter if Miami Marlins or Philadelphia Phillies games are erased from the schedule in terms of business integrity. Major League Baseball decided to try and play games in 27 different markets some of which had been identified as virus hot spots including Miami and Atlanta. The Marlins traveling party went to Atlanta to play a couple of warm up games and then onto Philadelphia where the players and other personnel were tested. The Marlins had 17 people test positive and those 17 came in contact with others including the visiting clubhouse attendants in the Philadelphia stadium while preparing and playing and departing the visiting clubhouse. One clubhouse attendant tested positive for COVID-19.

If the setting was not a Major League Baseball business but a bar or a supermarket, responsible politicians would have closed down the place. MLB allowed Marlins-Phillies games to be played after some positive cases turned up. MLB owners want TV money. The games must go on.