Associated Press

Marlins decide to play via group text

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The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the decision to play yesterday’s Marlins-Phillies game was made not by the team’s leadership, not by Major League Baseball, and not by any public health or medical experts. It was made by the players.

Over group text:

Major League Baseball issued a 113-page operations manual to all club employees before the start of the season. It outlines everything from on-field rules to testing procedures and what happens if a player tests positive. But Sunday afternoon, the status of the game amid a coronavirus outbreak was decided by a group text-message between Marlins players.

According to the story the final call was mostly made by shortstop Miguel Rojas, who is the team’s clubhouse leader. Rojas told the Inquirer, “we made the decision that we’re going to continue to do this and we’re going to continue to be responsible and just play the game as hard as we can.”

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. Or at least it’s not how it should work.

As the Inquirer story notes, Major League Baseball’s painfully detailed COVID-19 protocols are supposed to dictate everything. But they did not, apparently, dictate any sort of isolating despite the fact the team was in close quarters for several days leading up to the multiple positive tests that emerged yesterday morning. And the decision to play was made not by any health experts or anyone in any sort of formal leadership position, but by players whose driving philosophy in all of this was “we play hard.” Which is exactly the sort of impulse that having clear, organized, medical and science-driven processes is supposed to push back against. Athletes will ALWAYS want to play hard if they’re able to and allowed to. During a pandemic that Major League Baseball purports to take seriously, structures should be in place that head off that emotional impulse in favor of a rational one.

Either Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols have no data-driven mechanisms via which games are postponed and no formal hierarchy that makes such determinations, or else it has them but they were allowed to be ignored in this instance. It has to be one or the other because “Miguel Rojas decides via group text” is probably not in the manual.

Which is it? Did the league fail to plan for this eventuality or did it ignore its plans?

Video reviews overturn 42% rate; Boston most successful

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NEW YORK (AP) Video reviews overturned 42.4% of calls checked during Major League Baseball’s shortened regular season, down slightly from 44% in 2019.

Boston was the most successful team, gaining overturned calls on 10 of 13 challenges for 76.9%. The Chicago White Sox were second, successful on eight of 11 challenges for 72.7%, followed by Kansas City at seven of 10 (70%).

Pittsburgh was the least successful at 2 of 11 (18.2%), and Toronto was 7 of 25 (28%).

Minnesota had the most challenges with 28 and was successful on nine (32.1%). The New York Yankees and Milwaukee tied for the fewest with nine each; the Yankees were successful on five (55.6%) and the Brewers three (33.3%).

MLB said Tuesday there were 468 manager challenges and 58 crew chief reviews among 526 total reviews during 898 games. The average time of a review was 1 minute, 25 seconds, up from 1:16 the previous season, when there 1,186 manager challenges and 170 crew chief reviews among 1,356 reviews during 2,429 games.

This year’s replays had 104 calls confirmed (19.8%), 181 that stood (34.4%) and 223 overturned. An additional 12 calls (2.3%) were for rules checks and six (1.1%) for recording keeping.

In 2019 there were 277 calls confirmed (12.5%), 463 that stood (34.1%) and 597 overturned. An additional nine calls (0.7%) were for rules checks and 10 (0.7%) for record keeping.

Expanded video review started in 2014.