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Important communication

MLB hasn’t been communicating Coronavirus related information to its players and that communication breakdown has not gone unnoticed by some of the players.

2017 Major League Baseball World Series Game Two: Houston Astros v. Los Angeles Dodgers

In life, communication is of the utmost importance. That’s not said to be overly dramatic, it’s just one of the facts of our existence. Whether it’s our personal or professional relationships communication is at the heart of how smooth or rocky said relationships end up being. There’s a reason that most workplaces put a heavy emphasis on communication, or why for instance counselors immediately go to communication when they are dealing with personal relationships.

When you are dealing with a parent organization that consists of two leagues, thirty teams, over a thousand players, and numerous coaches, managers, and other ancillary staff communication is a mite more difficult. Anytime an organization gets as big as Major League Baseball communication, especially the relaying of important information, becomes increasingly difficult. That leads us to the current climate where we have MLB players like Brett Anderson, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Lindblom, and others stating that they get their news from Twitter as opposed to their own baseball teams.

While it may be expected that communication would be difficult for MLB, that doesn’t mean a complete breakdown in communication is acceptable. None of us are involved in the MLB communication chain so we don’t know where the breakdowns are occurring. However, when you have multiple players claiming that they aren’t being given important information from their team that means there is a breakdown somewhere.

More important than the fact that there is a breakdown is the question of why a breakdown exists? Maybe it is the easily identifiable issue of a huge organization allowing conduits of information to be closed through neglect and bad oversight. If that’s all it is then the onus is on MLB to work with their clubs to fix the lag in communication and get everyone back on the same page. That’s a relatively easy fix, as simple as doing an audit of your methods of communicating information and patching up any holes you may find or laying new pathways where necessary.

Much harder is the other side of the coin, the possibility that MLB knows there are communication issues and is fine with that fact. It may sound conspiracy-ish, but anyone who has worked for a larger company knows the reality is that large corporations love shutting down communication pathways. If they can control the information received by employees and limit it so that employees are not being told information the company does not feel is in its best interest then that is the course of action the company will take. Is there a chance that is what is happening with MLB, its 30 teams, and the players saying they are not being told important information about MLB’s coronavirus testing and possible breakouts?

Of course, there is a chance that is what is happening. I’ll take it a step further and say it’s likely that the players not being told information is both the regular communication breakdowns seen with large corporations and the targeted withholding of information. The hope is that MLB can limit the information players receive about how inept MLB has been in their testing, reporting, and tracing of the coronavirus. By keeping that information away from the players they can stop the only thing that would possibly end the 2020 season at this point; intervention from the Major League Baseball Players’ Association.

The one thing MLB has failed at is closing down the leakage of information to the one entity they cannot control, the press. Now, this isn’t always true and there are plenty of writers we all know who exist to serve the interests of the league. However, that’s not all writers, just the most notable and highest-paid. The writers and journalists who are interested in doing their job have torn away at the bubble MLB has tried to create around their coronavirus related activities. This has resulted in players learning of testing issues and outbreaks that the league hoped would remain contained. Communication may have broken down between MLB and its players, but the information found a pathway all the same.

As the 2020 season moves forward it will be incumbent on the players to continue to push for the information that MLB either does not want them to have or is not providing to them out of ineptitude. It’s clear that communication between MLB and its players has broken down. The players have started to voice their frustration over this, but they need to take that frustration and turn it into action. They have a voice and they need to use the MLBPA to pressure MLB to communicate with them in a more timely and efficient manner. Whether that happens or not all depends on how serious the players take the coronavirus.