8:31pm: These positive tests and the fear over a possible second wave of the coronavirus outbreak are key reasons why the league does not want to extend a potential regular season beyond Sept. 27, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. In a letter to top union attorney Bruce Meyer, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem wrote Monday: “Your recent letters have all expressed the concern, in one form or another, that players are being ’asked to take on extraordinary burdens and risks in the current environment. However, the Association’s proposals to play as many games as possible, as deep into the fall as possible, increases the health risks to players and staff, which is not something we are prepared to do.” Halem added, “We believe it presents a heightened and unnecessary health risk to your membership to play deeper into the Fall.”
7:02pm: Several Major League Baseball players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an MLB letter obtained by the Associated Press (Twitter link via Jonathan Lemire of the AP). This comes on the heels of a weekend report which stated that a player and a pitching coach had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The identities of the newest players and staff members are unknown, and it’s not clear how their recoveries are going or have gone. Nevertheless, it’s yet another reminder of how difficult it will be to get a 2020 season off the ground. Owners are said to be focusing on health and safety protocols as the league gears up for a potential season, but considering the unpredictability and widespread nature of the virus, there’s a chance it will help stop the campaign from ever starting or even derail it should it get underway at any point.
Of course, commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday he’s not confident a season will happen, though that’s largely because of an ongoing battle over salaries between the owners and the players. However, if a season does occur, the health of all those involved is sure to be one of the main concerns across the game, and this latest development does not bode well in that regard.