Derek Jeter statement
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Derek Jeter’s statement about the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak raises more questions

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Following the Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreak that has caused the postponement of their home opener, team CEO Derek Jeter issued a statement:

The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters. After a successful Spring 2.0, we now have experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

As far as statements go there is nothing surprising there. But Jeter’s claim that health is the top priority is hard to square with Don Mattingly’s statement yesterday after it was revealed that four players had tested positive: “We never considered not playing [Sunday]. We are taking risks every day.” It was a statement quickly followed up with an acknowledgment of the safety of the players’ health and family, but it’s hard to see that as anything other than a decision top prioritize playing over those health concerns. I mean, they took notice of those concerns and played on, right?

The “____ is our top priority” form of corporate statement is always — always — deployed when the thing the business is claiming to be its top priority has been manifestly compromised. If a plane crashes, “safety is our top priority.” If employees are mistreated, “the well-being of our workers is our top priority.” If there’s a chemical or oil spill, “responsible environmental practices are our top priority.” It’s become such a cliche that it’s hard to take that bit of businesspeak even remotely seriously.

What I’d like to hear is why the Marlins played a game with over 10% of its roster having tested positive and a bunch of other tests outstanding. What was the protocol that was followed and what, if anything, might have caused them to cancel that game if not the situation present at the time. Why, as Don Mattingly said, was the idea of cancelling the game “never considered” before today’s Marlins COVID-19 outbreak?

I don’t ask this rhetorically. I honestly do not know the decision process involved with the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak. It’s something, in light of today’s events and the Derek Jeter statement, that should be a lot more transparent than it is. I bet it’s something a lot of players want to know too.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”