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


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?

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.