Friday, August 21, 2020

Out of an Abundance of Caution

Whenever MLB decides to cancel games because of positive COVID-19 tests, they always feel the need to issue a press release claiming the action was taken "out of an abundance of caution." This overused phrase in general has become a favorite of whoever writes MLB's press releases on cancelled games. I'm sure they have a macro created in Microsoft Word to save themselves the extra typing. Nothing wrong with an abundance of caution, of course. I wish MLB adhered to that idea instead of bailing out the Wilpons out a decade ago.

Claiming an action is being taken out of an abundance of caution is basically saying that the action goes beyond any reasonable precaution. Sure, we don't HAVE to do this thing, but we're going to go ahead and do it anyway just to show you all how serious we are in keeping everyone safe. The only thing is, that's not quite the case. We know that one Met player and one staff member have tested positive. Undoubtedly they have been in contact with other players and support staff. By canceling all games through the weekend, MLB can test everyone on the club to make sure the virus has been totally contained, right?

Um, not quite. That's the hope, of course, but the testing still isn't perfect. At least according to one expert, it takes 3-5 days after infection to test positive for the virus, and some people might test negative for the virus, be asymptomatic, and yet actually have the virus and are able to spread it. Testing for the coronavirus is still imperfect, even among the relatively privileged class of Major League Baseball players. So, in essence, the decision to keep the team off the field for 4 days is simply a prudent decision to most likely ensure that the virus has been contained. MLB's claim of an abundance of caution makes as much sense as waiting an extra day to cancel the whole weekend series when they knew they were going to do that from the start.

As a baseball fan, I will miss watching Mets games during this period, even if they weren't playing all that wonderfully when they were playing. As a human being, I hope that the two people who tested positive and anyone else inside or outside of baseball that they have been in contact with are okay. It only goes to prove how hard it is to try to do anything that approximates normal life during this pandemic, even with the type of resources at hand that the rest of us could only dream about.

Anyway, out of an abundance of caution, we will have to wait to see if Seth Lugo can prove to be the missing piece for this rotation. We will wait to see if Edwin Diaz can harness the filthy stuff that has enabled him to strike out the almost cartoonish total of 24 batters out of the 32 outs he has recorded into saves. We will just have to wait a few more days to see if Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances can be what they were in past seasons, and if Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreeve, Jared Hughes, and Brad Bach can step up and fill more important roles the rest of the way. We'll wait a few more days as the club searches for answers not only for this campaign but for next year as well.

For now, this will all have to wait as we hope MLB's abundance of caution can stop this virus incursion dead in its tracks. In the meantime, it feels a little like a personal wake-up call for me. I haven't been doing anything crazy like hanging out with large groups of people or failing to wear a mask when I'm in public places, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being a little less careful in leading my life these days. I'm not washing my hands quite as often and I'm not paying quite as close attention to everything I do as I was a few months ago.

Where I live in Connecticut, we've done a pretty good job of tamping down the virus, and our rate of infection has dropped quite a bit. It feels a lot safer here than it did in late spring when life was almost completely shut down. Maybe I've been feeling just a little too safe and have let my guard down a little too much. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to borrow some of that caution from MLB's abundance and utilize it in my own life. If the virus can find its way through all of MLB's safety protocols, none of us are really safe.

That'll do it for me today. I'll be back tomorrow. Please stay abundantly safe, enjoy an abundance of wellness and take abundant care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos


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