Just when I had become jaded to the fact that baseball is still being played during a pandemic that has claimed 194,000 American lives, MLB found yet another way to recklessly endanger the safety of its players. Wildfire smoke has filled much of the west coast, and it was especially thick in Seattle yesterday when the A’s and Mariners were scheduled to play a doubleheader.
The Air Quality Index reached a maximum of 283 during play which is in the “Very Unhealthy” range and approaching the “Hazardous” range. The smoke was visible throughout the broadcast and pervaded the entire field.
No matter the condition, Laureano will always make incredible plays pic.twitter.com/6MxvEOiedk— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 14, 2020
Members of the A’s had some pointed words about the decision to still play in such obviously unhealthy conditions. A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he was under the impression the cutoff for air conditions was 200, and they were well above that all day. Jesús Luzardo said that he was gasping for air.
Jesús Luzardo on the air quality: "When I came out it was at 284. I'm a healthy 22 year old I shouldn't be gasping for air, or missing oxygen when I'm getting to the line. I'll leave it at that."— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) September 14, 2020
Jake Diekman tried to get some answers on Twitter, but at the time of writing, there had been no response or general statement from MLB on why these games were played.
This is unconscionable under any circumstance, but the decision to play in a cloud of smoke during a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system is especially egregious. Luzardo, a healthy 22-year-old, found it difficult to breathe, and not everyone in the stadium is a young, world class athlete. The grounds crew, umpires, camera operators, and every one else necessary to play a baseball game also had to breathe toxic air all day.
Safety, of course, isn’t the priority for MLB. Earlier on Monday, Evan Drellich reported that Rob Manfred hopes to have fans at the League Championship Series and World Series. Manfred supposedly said with a straight face
But you know, the clubs, the industry, we lose about 40 percent of our revenue when we play without fans. Remember it’s not just the tickets, it’s tickets, it’s concessions, it’s parking, it’s the merchandise that gets sold in the stadium.
The owners have made a massive economic investment in getting the game back on the field for the good of the game. We need next year to be back in a situation where we can have fans in ballparks in order to sustain our business. It’s really that simple
And this was on the same day the Wilpons, who bought the Mets for ~$400 million in 2002, sold the team for $2.475 billion. FOH.
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