The Miami Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak should serve as a wake-up call across Major League Baseball.
With as many as 19 Marlins testing positive for COVID-19 in recent days, the league and its 29 other teams must take serious precautions to ensure this doesn’t become commonplace in clubhouses throughout the 2020 season.
Containing the virus obviously is easier said than done, especially when travel is involved. But following specific protocols at least can reduce the risk of COVID-19 wreaking havoc elsewhere in MLB.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom on Thursday described how the Boston organization handled its pandemic-related messaging to players in wake of the Marlins’ unfortunate situation.
“We did talk about that, and actually we were going to talk about it, anyway, in preparation for this road trip, because of course when the Marlins news broke, we had an example to point to and really just a reminder of why we need to do all of these things,” Bloom said on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” “So, a lot of things were restated that were stated at the outset, and a couple of our veteran players did a really good job — even before everybody showed up — of saying what we’re doing, what needs to happen for us to have a season here and the importance of doing that for everybody. And so a lot of those messages got restated, but I think also what it shows is we know all of these guys are getting tested every other day — and that’s great and that is a really, really fortunate thing that we know is a luxury that not a lot of folks in our society have. But as far as what we’re doing, you can’t just rely on the testing. The reason we have these protocols in place, the reason we are distancing, the reason we are cleaning so thoroughly, the reason we’re asking guys to wear masks and not be near each other when they don’t have to, is in order to create additional safeguards so that if you do have a case, you prevent it from becoming an outbreak.
“So it was a really good lesson on the importance of that and just emphasizing we know there’s a lot of force of habit that drives everybody’s behavior day to day, we know guys like to be around their teammates. We’re human beings, that’s how we are, we’re social beings. But we have to take these precautions to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of avoiding an outbreak.”
The Red Sox, who began their season with five home games at Fenway Park against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, are in the midst of their first road trip, which includes two games against the Mets at Citi Field, three games against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium and two games against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
MLB’s return-to-play plan — traveling to home ballparks rather than playing games in bubble cities, like the NHL and NBA — comes with inherent risk based on the number of moving parts, but a collective buy-in from players and staff members moving forward could go a long way toward minimizing the number of additional league-wide cases in wake of the Marlins’ outbreak.
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