The 2020 MLB season is set to kick off in 17 days, which means the league has a maximum of 17 days to figure out how to properly test for the coronavirus in a safe and responsible way.
Because what they’re doing right now isn’t working.
On Monday, just a few days after “Summer Camp” began, teams started to cancel workouts, citing that they hadn’t received the results of their team-wide coronavirus tests from Friday.
The defending champion Washington Nationals called off their Monday workout, with general manager Mike Rizzo saying that, “it is simply not safe for us to continue.”
Here is a statement from Nationals GM Mike Rizzo -- and it doesn't mince words: "Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab." pic.twitter.com/Ho8DkAw4Tb— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 6, 2020
The Houston Astros followed suit, and the Oakland A’s were waiting to see if they got their test results back in time to continue with the day’s planned activities.
That's two. And the Oakland A's could still cancel theirs depending on whether the results from their Friday tests are processed and returned today. https://t.co/csqCDCNjOI— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 6, 2020
Through luck or design, San Francisco Giants have avoided such an issue. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told The San Francisco Chronicle that the team had their initial intake tests on Thursday, rather than Friday, and got the results back sooner. They also had a second batch of testing on Saturday (per the health and safety protocol) and have yet to receive those results.
The Giants had one positive test, pitcher Luis Madero, in their first batch of testing.
If the league can’t get a handle on the testing situation, there’s no feasible way to move forward with the season. Because teams are traveling, rather than playing in a bubble, they’ll presumably need to receive test results quickly when moving from city to city.
Instead of its intended result of making players and teams feel safe, the league’s testing protocol has only served to cause further concerns. On Monday, Chicago Cubs star and former NL MVP Kris Bryant admitted that he does not currently feel safe or comfortable.
Kris Bryant's full answer on testing issues we're seeing throughout baseball right now, which includes this quote, "I wanted to play this year because I felt that it would be safe and I would be comfortable. Honestly, I don't really feel that way." pic.twitter.com/1BdbHrPWWJ— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 6, 2020
If that isn’t fixed soon, you can begin drawing up the tombstone design for the 2020 season.
The league has recognized the issue, though they’ve put a little bit of a PR spin on it, pointing to the weekend and the holiday as reasons why they weren’t able to get a quick turnaround from the independent laboratory in Utah. That won’t fly during the season.
Regardless of what MLB says, it’s clear that the clock is ticking for them to figure this out.