Report: MLB didn’t test players for COVID-19 coming back from D.R.

MLB Dominican Republic COVID-19
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images
6 Comments

Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports that Major League Baseball didn’t test players or staff for COVID-19 on two chartered flights from the Dominican Republic. In the time since, multiple players have tested positive for COVID-19. Other players on those flights are isolating.

Twins first baseman Miguel Sanó and several members of the Nationals were among the players on those flights. Sanó as well as an unknown player tested positive during intake testing last week. Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Wander Suero, Fernando Abad, Luis Garcia and Joan Adon are currently isolating in Washington, D.C.

An MLB spokesman said that there were obstacles to overcome, namely that tests are more scarce in the D.R. and governmental restrictions made it difficult to ship saliva samples between countries.

There are a lot of moving parts as Major League Baseball attempts to salvage the 2020 season. Many foreign players traveled back home once the league shut down in March, which complicated things once they returned to the U.S. to play baseball. While it was very predictable, there wasn’t an easy fix. It was either keep the players in or out. However, adding this to MLB’s slipshod job handling testing in the early stages of training camp, there is merited skepticism about the league’s ability to pull off a 60-game season over the next three months.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

mlb
Logan Riely/Getty Images
1 Comment

PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.