Jon Heyman reports that a MLB player had a birthday party in mid-June which is believed to have led to people getting infected with novel coronavirus (COVID-19), spreading in that player’s clubhouse as well. The identity of the player, his team, and any of the other people who got infected are unknown.
With 30 teams each having 60-man rosters, we have 1,800 players gearing up for the 2020 season in their respective cities, not to mention support staff. Not all of them are or will be diligent about safety measures in order to reduce the spread of the virus. As the anecdote Heyman shared indicates, all it takes is one person or one small group of people to ruin the fun for everyone. There will be more than a handful of players around the league who don’t take the threat seriously enough.
In order for the 60-game 2020 season to work, just about every player participating needs to be on board with best practices when it comes to health and safety protocols. That seems like a very tall order. Heyman added that a coach he spoke to described baseball clubhouses as akin to frat houses.
This is one of many considerations that players who are considered “high risk” or live with people considered “high risk” have to take into account. So far, five players have opted out of the 2020 season: Mike Leake, Joe and Tyson Ross, Ian Desmond, and Ryan Zimmerman. Some coaches will also be reassigned to other duties. Expect more in the coming weeks.