Four days after the Phillies and Marlins played a game despite learning three Miami Marlins tested positive earlier that morning, two Phillies employees were revealed to have COVID-19. A clubhouse attendant and a coach tested positive which prompted MLB to postpone the Phillies’ weekend series against the Blue Jays.
Though it’s encouraging that no Phillies players have tested positive so far, Thursday’s results are a reminder that the virus isn’t detectable for several days. The decision to play on Sunday was made under the assumption that only those three players were positive when in fact, several other players had the virus but weren’t testing positive yet.
Suspending the Phillies’ weekend series is the bare minimum, but at least MLB is doing that much. We couldn’t say that a week ago. The bar for American businesses and institutions is so low that any action on coronavirus that isn’t actively harmful gets faint praise.
Good job, MLB, you’re not actively trying to kill the Phillies.
Because more games are going to be suspended, more double headers will be played and because more doubleheaders will be played, MLB also announced that games in doubleheaders will be seven innings long.
This particular change will only last for the season which is good because if it were permanent, baseball fandom at large would be in open revolt. If all this wasn’t happening, I might be incensed by MLB’s audacity to change the length of the game. I simply just don’t have the bandwidth to be mad about it.
In fact, I kind of like it. Pitchers are getting hurt right and left and shaving four combined innings off a doubleheader could preserve a few arms. Plus, this season is already weird and dumb, so make it the most weird and the most dumb. Don’t take any half-measures if you’re playing Calvinball.
David Laurila | FanGraphs: If player development is of any interest to you, David Laurila’s interview with Andy McKay is a must-read. McKay is Seattle’s Director of Player Development and one of the most respected minds in the player dev world.
Eno Sarris | The Athletic $: I mentioned above that pitchers are rampant. Though there is always a spike at the beginning of the season, this is the worst week of the last decade by a large margin.
Matt Lyons | Let’s Go Tribe: Shane Bieber has struck out 27 batters in his first two starts of the season which tied a major league record set by Karl Spooner in 1954.