If MLB players want to avoid contracting coronavirus, they must stay in their hotels in away games.
One evening, I was in Pittsburgh and saw the Pirates play the Arizona Diamondbacks. My intention was to see then-newly opened PNC Park.
By chance, I stayed at the Diamondbacks hotel. After the game, I shared an elevator with one of the greatest MLB players, Randy Johnson, who had the night off. When approached by a young fan in the elevator for an autograph, Johnson’s response was as direct as a fastball through a defenseless dove in a Cactus League game.
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“No!” Johnson said. “I sign at the office, which is the field. I don’t sign at home, which is the hotel.”
In essence, he was saying “hotel is where the home is.”
In order to continue to play a 2020 regular season in the absence of a “bubble,” MLB players must stay put in their hotel before and after a game. It will prevent a 60-game regular season, already being deemed meaningless, from becoming a total mockery.
Some members of the St. Louis Cardinals ventured off to a casino in late July during a road trip in Milwaukee. Upon their return, the team reported multiple positive tests for COVID-19.
Talk about “rolling the dice.”
Linked to the casino visit, MLB and the Cardinals instituted a team quarantine and now must scramble to put together a make-up schedule that adversely affects the team and their opponents. Turns out everyone lost on that trip because of a few thoughtless players.
The Miami Marlins season has been greatly altered because, allegedly, players didn’t follow protocol during a recent road trip in Atlanta. When speaking to the media, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter maintained his players “let their guard down” when some players left the hotel for “coffee and clothes” and others gathered in teammates’ rooms without PPE.
“There was no salacious activity,” Jeter said. And apparently, no coffee at the hotel.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams was clearly salacious when a trip to a funeral ended with a visit to a strip club in Atlanta. He went to “Magic City,” when he should have been headed back to the “Magic Kingdom,” the NBA’s bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando. His selfishness potentially put the entire league in jeopardy.
“There’s exposure in a variety of ways,” Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels told media members, “but our guys are taking it seriously. If everybody has that same mentality, I do believe we can do this.”
“Boys will be boys.” But that idiom can’t apply today if baseball wants to finish the season. These boys need to act like men, care about others and remember what Johnson intimated in that elevator years ago in Pittsburgh: “hotel is where the home is.”