Following a string of positive COVID-19 tests across MLB, reports surfaced that Commissioner Rob Manfred could shut down the season if the players didn't manage their exposure. Now, however, the story is changing. Manfred said that there is "no reason to quit now" despite a number of postponed games.
"We are playing," Manfred told ESPN. "The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable." This statement followed four players from the St. Louis Cardinals testing positive for the coronavirus and the postponement of a game between the team and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Positive coronavirus tests have forced the postponement of 17 MLB games in 10 days. This includes games featuring the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds among others. The string of postponements created concern about MLB's ability to continue, especially after 21 players on the Miami Marlins tested positive.
According to ESPN, the coming days are critical and could play a major role in whether or not Manfred shuts down the season. The Marlins made positive strides and reported no new positive tests on Saturday, but that was only a small step in the right direction. All teams will have limit the number of positive tests throughout the remainder of the season.
According to ESPN, state and local governments have pressured MLB about its players and how they have "skirted the mandates." This includes moments featuring players high-fiving, spitting and not wearing masks during games. Additionally, one unnamed high-ranking official told ESPN that "there are some bad decisions being made" by players away from the field.
While Manfred plans on keeping the season going, this is not guaranteed. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Commissioner told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark that the game needs to do a better job managing the coronavirus. ESPN continued to say that the season could shut down as soon as Monday, based on the number of positive tests over the weekend. Manfred has the power to shut down the season after only a fraction of games, and he could make that decision in the coming days.
Fans will continue to express concern over the weekend as teams take part in a large number of games. Manfred is not shutting down the season just yet, but that does not mean that this won't happen in the coming days. This will depend on how the players and teams manage their exposure to the coronavirus.