Teams, not just players, think MLB’s safety protocol proposal is ‘over the top’

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After this morning’s post about players and health experts’ take on Major League Baseball’s proposed COVID-19 safety protocols, I read Ken Rosenthal’s report in which he spoke to multiple team executives for their views. Guess what: they see problems too:

Calling the suggested protocols, “way over the top,” one president of baseball operations offered a prediction on Major League Baseball’s 67-page draft on health and safety for the 2020 season.

“That document will look way different after the feedback from teams, the Players Association and players,” the executive said.

Any negotiated thing will, of course, look differently after negotiation. The problem, though, is that in most negotiations the parties are limited only by what they collectively agree to live with. In this negotiation, there is an absolute baseline: safety and medical soundness. If what it considered to, generally, be the only safe way to do a certain thing, the parties cannot responsibly dip below that baseline simply in the name of agreement.

So, what do Rosenthal’s sources say isn’t workable?

  • Testing: the executives to whom he spoke agree with the sentiment Mike Trout shared the other day — and to which experts agree — that testing has to be an every day thing, not just a many-times-a-week thing. The problem, though, is that that kind of capacity may not be available by July; and
  • At-the-park restrictions: the executives agree that all of the at-the-park protocols about spitting, showering, etc., are too restrictive which, again, only increases the need for constant, reliable testing. They likewise think that rather than ban congregating at hotels and socializing on the road, simply wearing masks and washing hands and things is the way to go.

Which, hey, that sounds like the basis for agreement between players and clubs on these terms.

The only problem is: is that place of agreement good enough? And safe enough?