If Miami Marlins Outbreak Doesn’t Shutdown MLB, What Will?

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 03: Derek Jeter CEO of the Miami Marlins wears a mask while attending the Miami Marlins Summer Workouts at Marlins Park on July 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 03: Derek Jeter CEO of the Miami Marlins wears a mask while attending the Miami Marlins Summer Workouts at Marlins Park on July 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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If the Miami Marlins Covid-19 outbreak doesn’t shutdown the MLB season, what would it take to do so?

In case you haven’t heard, a number of Miami Marlins personnel have tested positive for coronavirus, leading to the quarantining of multiple players and the decision by MLB to postpone their game tonight. A second game between the Phillies and the Yankees has also been postponed.

However, what you have most certainly not heard is the news that MLB will be canceling the 2020 season.

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Yet, in light of this story developing just one weekend and one round of flights into a sixty game season, it only seems fair to ask the following question: just what would it take for MLB to arrive at that conclusion? That the time is not right to play games, whatever the circumstances, when so much of so much more consequence is at stake?

And while that question is directed largely at the man behind the MLB curtain, Rob Manfred, it can really be levied at the commissioners and owners of all professional sports teams. An MLB team just lost 33% of their best players in the past twenty-four hours for what is likely a minimum of 10% to 20% of the season. Claims about that being why MLB, in their wisdom, approved sixty-man playing pools aside, this Marlins outbreak already seems very close to that situation of competitive balance being threatened that Manfred speculated about when asked this very question weeks ago.

Now that such a moment has arrived though, that seems like it will not be enough. Two teams then? Perhaps, but surely that will just lead some to argue about MLB being back to an even number of clubs. Three, four? What is the breaking point? When Manfred delivered that initial answer above in his Dan Patrick Show appearance, it seemed a bit vague. But that vagueness, at the time, appeared to be more reflective of the unpredictable nature of the virus than an attempt to keep as many options open as possible. More about prioritizing safety than setting a decision floor, because even one small instance, if severe enough, could necessitate calling the whole thing off.

In that light, the caginess made sense. Now that the first exit ramp has come and gone, MLB must get much more specific. Four teams seems like the maximum acceptable answer, with two the most appropriate. If the answer just keeps being taxi squad depth the whole season long, and cases continue to mount, the only reasonable conclusion for what MLB- and all other sports leagues- are waiting for will be laid clear.

Next. How Soon Is Too Soon To Start Making Trades?. dark

That it will actually take the death of a player to cancel a season.