CINCINNATI — Three innings into the Mid-Summer Classic and it’s . . . OK I guess.
Sorry, still jacked from the Home Run Derby last night, realizing that a few tweaks turned an awful event into a great one. Now I’m thinking of what some tweaks would do to a merely boring event like the actual All-Star Game. Maybe get rid of the every-team-must-be-represented rule, pick 20-25 guys and play a real game?
Yeah, I know it’ll never happen — pitcher usage would be a problem — but we’re just starting the fourth inning and our fifth pitcher is in the game. They’re all so good. They all throw fire. Kind of makes things hoo-hum.
Not that we haven’t had some excitement so far. In the first inning Mike Trout hit a homer that just snuck over the right field wall on the fourth pitch of the game from Zack Greinke. Trout, by the way, was born six weeks before Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion” albums came out. He’s so young and so good and he already has a lifetime All-Star Game cycle, having singled, doubled, tripled and homered in his appearances.
The NL came back in the bottom of the second, as Paul Goldschmidt hit a slow roller to third which Josh Donaldson air-mailed, allowing Goldschmidt to wind up on second. He reached third on a Buster Posey groundout and then came home when Jhonny Peralta singled.
Since then, not much happening. And on we go.
But really, Rob Manfred: let’s make this crazy like the Derby!
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.