Major League Baseball opened its 2020 season last week with many compelling cases for and against the sport’s debut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those against baseball’s debut found vindication after multiple members of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19.
Series between the Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles, as well as the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were canceled as a result of these developments. The Cardinals’ weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers was canceled as well.
Despite these developments, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has maintained that the abbreviated season will continue as scheduled. Despite protests from those believing sports should be canceled altogether, Manfred made a wise decision in maintaining that the season continue.
We shouldn’t place a premium on athletic competition over player safety. Economic consideration will always remain a given in these decisions to playball. Team owners and Commissioner Manfred work hand in hand to achieve their main objectives: making money. While MLB stadiums will remain empty during game play, MLB will still make billions of dollars in broadcast and ad revenue during these games.
Manfred’s decision allowing game play to continue does have one bright spot. It allows teams like the Marlins to promote players from their minor league farm system to play in the majors. Miami must play at least nine players for each game despite having a combined 20 positive tests amongst players and coaches. The Marlins weren’t expected to be playoff contenders during normal circumstances in 2020. The COVID pandemic presents opportunities for young players to distinguish themselves.
It’s unfortunate for athletes to get an opportunity to play in this manner. Then again, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady got his opportunity to distinguish himself in an almost identical manner. These games will go on with or without our blessing, which is why playing sports in this climate will always be worth the risk.