After COVID-19 cases popped up across at least four MLB teams (Phillies, Blue Jays, Astros, Angels), and at facilities for at least three of those teams, the league is shutting down access to team facilities across the country until they can be deep cleaned and (far more importantly) firm protocols can be implemented for access.
How that didn’t happen before players and staff were allowed to work out together at facilities I don’t quite understand. (Well, I guess I do understand, because it was a state-by-state phased reopening thing, and places like Arizona, Texas, and Florida weren’t exactly overly aggressive in their safety requirements.)
In any case, it didn’t happen, but it’s happening now:
Major League Baseball will close all spring training sites in Arizona and Florida for deep cleaning and will not permit players or staff members until they pass a COVID-19 test.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 20, 2020
MLB and the PA have yet to ratify health/safety protocols for return, but MLB is hoping to reopen camps early next week and want for the personnel who return to unofficial workouts at the facilities to do COVID test every 2 days— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 20, 2020
I suppose I do get that testing wasn’t as widely available as it is now, but still – regular testing, and testing negative before entering, sure seem like obvious needs if you’re going to let players work out like this.
It’s worth noting that not all facilities ever entirely opened up for these kinds of voluntary workouts. The risk was always about the people, not the physical facilities themselves. So without firm protocols in place, it was always the wiser move not to open up.
With Arizona operations temporarily shutting down and the labor battle ongoing, it was a jarring sequence for the Cubs' return-to-play hopes. https://t.co/wwJ12VzSW7— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) June 20, 2020
In any case, if the league is about to mandate a season (assuming no agreement can be reached, sigh), it’s all the more critical that the massive health and safety protocols are finalized, *AND* are implemented for the purposes of Spring Training Part Two. The biggest piece of that is going to be testing, testing, testing, testing, so you should brace yourself now for a really significant wave of positive tests as players get ready to arrive. As we’ve seen in other areas where prophylactic testing has taken place, a whollllle lot more people are currently carrying this virus than they realize.