I could rail on the Cardinals or Marlins for the carelessness displayed in their handling of the safety protocols, but today I’d rather focus on how predictable this was and worse the very easy to see coming damage from the fallout.
The Pirates are our focus here, but the problem is not theirs alone. That said I’m going to use the Bucs to illustrate the domino effect that is actively taking place in MLB and all the fallout it will create. I’m using the Pirates because they’re familiar and face the challenges ahead of them through no fault of their own.
Let’s start here, the Pirates are in no danger of having their playoff chances hindered, they took care of that on their own. Instead they will do their part to make the league’s lack of accountability work by playing two double headers against the Cards and sacrifice a scarce off day.
Now toss in another double header against the Reds. We don’t even know why this one was caused yet. Sounds like just being cautious, and we have yet to hear how a Cincinnati Reds player contracted the Virus, although really, its hard to really trust any of the causation.
Imagine you are working at a bank and start feeling ill, you call off work and go get tested and it comes back positive. You feel like you’ve done everything right, wore a mask, didn’t go out just to go out, but you got it anyway. You take your 10-14 days of time off and get back to work after you’re better. Despite what we see on the news this is the most common outcome after all, easy to forget it’s not a death sentence for most.
Sure, the bank probably pushes some of your work to after you return, someone pitches in to take care of stuff that can’t wait but this doesn’t cripple the business. More to the point other banks don’t need to close because of one issue at another institution.
That’s what MLB has going on. What it is creating is an evolving situation that will ultimately lead to two or three weeks of doubleheaders. Even just this past weekend, the Reds had a positive test and found out in the middle of Friday’s game, another issue that needs to improve. If one positive can’t be handled by isolating the player, retesting, and getting back on the field after missing no more than a game you can see how this will balloon out of control quickly.
One positive test led to the postponement of two games and even though the teams shared an off day today they still didn’t feel comfortable playing a double header at this point. So, they kick it down the road. A road already littered with make up contests against the Cardinals.
We’ve all watched the Pirates pitching staff fall to injury this season, if you look around the league, they certainly aren’t alone. Nobody really has a fact-based explanation, although it’s fairly easy to point to the oddity of the abbreviated Spring Training 2.0 and now the added start and stop of tapdancing through the COVID minefield.
Now take an already taxed pitching staff and patchwork rotation and add in the elimination of off days and doubleheaders too. Think that might cause some more issues?
MLB is trying to do what they think is best, which in their mind consists of playing all the games and not punishing people for catching a virus. I get it, but this simply won’t work without causing more damage, unless they do something else.
They just cut down to 28-man rosters, but I believe to help teams navigate the coming barrage of games they need to go back to 30. 7 inning games will help, but even if they all end in regulation that’s still 14 innings that need covered in one day, in some cases 2 or 3 times for one week.
We say the Cards and Marlins haven’t been punished and no in the conventional sense they haven’t been, but the Cards will now play what amounts to over 15 double headers in a tight window. At the very least they won’t be able to utilize any form of a regular rotation to accomplish it and if they get through it without landing more pitchers on the shelf it would be a modern-day miracle.
Again, maybe they deserve it, unfortunately they won’t walk this path alone. If MLB is hell bent on having as many as possible play all 60 games, they owe it to the clubs to increase the roster size and embrace the fact that we aren’t done adding new make up contests to the already congested schedule. Maybe it’s as simple as saying the taxi squad becomes active when doubleheaders happen. They get one game check and the accompanied service time, and the teams don’t have to mess with transaction nonsense. Something can be done here; the question is will it.
If you just want to say they shouldn’t have played, it’s a bit late even if you felt that way before. Want a bubble, yeah, the owners did too. Now that we’re where we are, the onus is on MLB to do something to make this season safe from the most dangerous pitfall which is injury to arms.