Monday, July 27, 2020

Risky Business

Well, this was a great start to something we waited so long for. The Mets gave their offense the whole weekend off. They blew a game they should have won, and then barely showed up for the rubber game of the series. If that wasn't enough, now the season itself is in jeopardy thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak that hit the Marlins. Suddenly the Mets performing so poorly was only the second-biggest bummer of the weekend for me.

Where things stand right now, 11 Marlins players and two coaches have tested positive for coronavirus. The tests were given while the team was in Philadelphia, but they were playing exhibition games in Atlanta before that. I'm not sure if it's possible to trace where the infections started, but MLB would do well to try and find out. Were some players on the Marlins just being careless? I think that must be what MLB and club owners probably are hoping for right now, because the alternative would be that the current guidelines they're operating under aren't strict enough.

So far only the Marlins - Orioles and the Yankees - Phillies games for tonight have been cancelled. It remains to be seen where MLB is going to go from here. With the protocols already in place it might be that we won't see COVID infections among the Phillies, but it's all unknown right now.

One thing were sure of right now, teams playing the Marlins over the next week or so will be playing against a very diminished team that wasn't all that good to begin with. You could see how a few similar outbreaks among other teams could easily throw a monkey wrench into the already shaky competitive balance for this season.

Consider if something like this happened to the Mets. Putting aside for a moment how poorly they played this weekend, imagine if the team had to play games with a dozen of their players unable to suit up. Some of the guys on the current active roster are bad enough, particularly some of the relievers. Now the Mets have to fill in with a bunch of scrubs while these players are quarantined. Anyone who plays them during that stretch is far more likely to succeed than a team that has to play them at full strength.

Some team officials apparently think the Marlins situation might be a good thing, scaring other players and making them think twice about indulging in risky behaviors. The problem with this, at least to me, is that it would really take only one or two players to infect some of their teammates. It doesn't even have to be the players themselves, it could be someone in their families that they come home to.

Before this news came out, my biggest worry as a fan was wondering how long it might take my beloved team to get their crap together. Now it's that they might do that and then see the season yanked out from under them. Fun stuff.

For now we wait, and we hope like hell that a bunch more players from the teams involved already don't test positive in the coming days. You have to wonder how much bigger this outbreak has to get before it brings the whole season to a screaming halt.

I guess for now I'll keep my fingers crossed. As always, please stay safe, be well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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