Houston Astros: The MLB’s testing protocols remain in question for season

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred | Houston Astros (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred | Houston Astros (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros should hopefully be resuming play soon after the MLB and MLBPA reach an agreement but the COVID-19 testing protocols remain in question.

The Houston Astros are working hard — albeit safely — in regard to getting their players ready for the start of the season.  As things start to edge into the summer with the kickoff of Memorial Day weekend, this typically the part of the season we have a general idea of where things are headed.

But, in exception, the sports world waits as it comes up procedures that keep the safety at the forefront for its players yet still able to get things to resume in a bubble of a new normal of sorts.

The NBA appears to be moving forward with isolating its players in a bubble of sorts — reportedly at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World — in Florida while the MLB is leaning more toward guys playing in their home stadiums on a reduced schedule which is currently proposed at 82 games.

Houston Astros‘ faithful — there’s nothing solid yet on the MLB side as both they and the MLBPA have stalled a bit on talks because of the biggest sticking — a proposed 50/50 split of revenues — is preventing things from moving forward.  There will be a disparity between the larger and small-market teams and they have a legitimate concern about that.

Let’s hope we can see guys like Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Michael Brantley soon though.

But if things are agreed upon with a few tweaks, then June could be used a short “Spring Training” session with the season kicking off as early as around July 4.  We’ll have to see about that.

Other than how the players will get paid, one of the other sticking points is how the players are going to be kept safe with the robust amount of testing that will be required for the coronavirus.

The league thinks they can get up to 14,500 tests a week, nearly 200,000 total across the shortened-season in order to ensure that infection rates stay as close to zero as possible.

The MLB will be testing frequently — not every day — and they expect to tap into their PED testing

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facility in Utah to administer their tests.  They’ll also have to find a medium of executing such an aggressive plan without taking away resources from some states that still need those precious testing supplies even more if they have high case counts.

The league apparently has not yet consulted with all local governments in the communities that they’re rooted in but they plan to do so by the time things are finalized.  So it still means that the league still has a bit of a way to go to get going.

By the way, MLB is reportedly losing an astronomical $75 million per day as a result of this pandemic.

I think that 14,500 tests a week is a good start but the league shouldn’t make that a max number, as more testing supplies become available, they should increase the frequency as much to ensure all gaps are closed.

Next. Astros re-opening facilities are in for a new normal. dark

Implementing a great plan with tweaks along the way is a step in the right direction and hopefully will get the league back on its feet with some sense of normalcy until fans are allowed back in the future.  How far in the future though, remains to be seen.

Until then, we must wait for an agreement…