As Rob Manfred continues to downplay the Miami Marlins’ COVID-19 situation, Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez has come out and said what everyone in Major League Baseball should be thinking: he’s scared.
As he should be.
What’s happening with the Marlins is an absolute disaster, a disaster that Manfred still doesn’t believe is a “nightmare” scenario, even though the number of coronavirus cases within the organization continues to rise and has put their entire season on hold. It’s also caused problems for the Phillies, Orioles, and Yankees.
Dave Martinez and the Nationals were supposed to head to Miami this weekend for a three-game series with the Marlins but those games have now been postponed. But even if the series hadn’t been shut down, the Nats were essentially refusing to go anyway after the players took a vote to stay home.
Four more Marlins tested positive for COVID-19
In a tweet Tuesday morning, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that four additional players from the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to at least 17 between players and coaches. Their home opener against the Orioles was postponed on Monday, as was the game between the Phillies and Yankees, and now both the Marlins and Phillies have been shut down until further notice.
But Rob Manfred still doesn’t see this as being that big of a problem.
Rob Manfred doesn’t believe the Marlins’ situation is a ‘nightmare’
As the number of cases within the Marlins organization escalated on Monday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred continued to downplay the severity of the situation (h/t ESPN).
“I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” Manfred said. “It’s not a positive thing, but I don’t see it as a nightmare. … That’s why we have the expanded rosters. That’s why we have the pool of additional players.”MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
He went on to say that he hoped MLB would learn from the situation and that testing protocols would be adjusted accordingly. It’s exactly those testing protocols that have been highly criticized even before this Marlins outbreak. Players were not being tested on a daily basis and even when they were, it took days for the results to come back as the tests were being sent to a lab in Utah.
But this situation is about more than just baseball. There are certain players and coaches, including Dave Martinez, that have much more to worry about. MLB says that the main concern is the health and safety of the players and coaches but that hasn’t proven to be the case.
Dave Martinez is ‘scared’
Just last year, Dave Martinez had to miss multiple games for the Nationals after undergoing cardiac catheterization, a procedure reserved only for those with symptoms of serious heart disease. Naturally, COVID-19 is a big cause of concern for Martinez so when he saw what was happening with the Miami Marlins, it frightened him. But not only was he concerned for himself, but he was also concerned for his players and the rest of his coaching staff.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m scared. I really am. I go from here, home, back here every day, that’s all I do. I wash my hands, I went from 47 times a day to probably 99 times a day. Wear my mask everywhere I go. But there’s always that concern, you know.
“You don’t know, because of my heart condition, what happens to me if I do get it. I have to be extra careful. With that said, sometimes I tend to put myself aside and worry about other people more than me. I think that’s why I’m here, because I worry about those guys before I put myself first.”Dave Martinez
Before the series was postponed, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Nationals players voted against going to Miami this weekend, a problem they don’t have to face now, at least for the time being. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are determined to somehow fight through this mess to get this season in, even if it means that teams won’t play the same amount of games.
But is any of this actually worth it? What’s it going to take before Manfred actually realizes that this really is a serious problem? While some might not come out and say it, the Nationals vote solidifies the fact that players are scared. Dave Martinez had no problem coming out and saying that and should be commended for being so candid.
Perhaps if Major League Baseball had actually put proper testing protocols in place, this all could have been avoided.