Houston Sports: Group Texts and Positive Tests

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The sports world has been rocked by a COVID outbreak in Philly, is there really a safe way to resume any of our professional leagues? How about the Astros?

Astros’ followers — It’s just been reported that the Miami Marlins played Sunday’s game with the knowledge they were in the midst of a probable coronavirus outbreak. How did that come to be? MLB’s “safety protocols” are apparently group texts amongst players to see if they’re cool with playing.

The Astros already are down their Cy Young award-winning ace, their ROY Yordan Alvarez, and half their pitching staff. If this is how MLB and the MLBPA are protecting their players, then it’s time for the agents to look into a vote of no confidence for the union.

There are obvious and inherent risks in baseball, much more so than the NBA or NHL seasons. There is no bubble to keep players protected in and the traveling parties are much larger. An outbreak was bound to happen, but I assumed they wouldn’t let players on the field while waiting to find out if they were infected. EIGHT Marlins played knowing there was a possible outbreak. That’s unacceptable.

I don’t blame the Marlins players. Players — notwithstanding the Astros — are always going to opt to play if given the choice. The fact that both teams left it up to the players is just the latest slimy move by the owners. “Hey, they wanted to play.” As if that absolves them of responsibility. If a single Philly tests positive they should look into a lawsuit for negligence.

The Astros have been lucky so far but what happened if/when they too have a positive test? Do they quarantine the team and postpone games for 10 days? What if a player tests positive again two weeks after they come back? Are they going to replay 1/3rd of the season? If MLB doesn’t have the answers to these questions no one should be on the field.

This also doesn’t bode well for the NFL season. 53-man rosters, a huge coaching staff, and a slew of trainers is an even more difficult group to keep isolated. The players are in much closer quarters both on and off the field, and locker rooms are prone to outbreaks in general.

How many times last season did you hear about a virus working its way through rosters last season? A few years ago the Bucs had a staph outbreak that changed the course of several player’s careers. This virus is way more communicable than the latter and more dangerous than the former. There are also no extra weeks to make up missed games on the NFL schedule. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

I know we all miss sports, but as I asked before, are these asterisk filled seasons worth playing?   Do you want to see the JV version of the Texans every Sunday? The Rockets trying to win a round in the playoffs while an asymptomatic but still quarantined James Harden sits out? If your ok with it more power to you, but I’d rather wait for a season I can watch without waiting for the next shoe to drop.

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