The Miami Marlins, who have suffered the worst COVID-19 outbreak in sports, complained of the inability to socially distance themselves during a rain delay against the Atlanta Braves days before the start of the season. “We had all these guys and nowhere to go.” director Don Mattingly told reporters. “Then we have a million guys in the dugout, so there’s no way we’re moving away socially. ”
Perhaps Mattingly’s quote was on Anthony Rizzo’s mind when he took to Twitter Thursday night to wonder why players were allowed to sit around the clubhouse when he was obvious that the match would not be played.
“The safety of the players? Rizzo tweeted on the official league account, “@MLB let’s spend over 8 hours inside the clubhouse. I’m sure I can find this somewhere in the 113 page Player Security Protocol. ”
Rizzo followed up on this tweet by sending a photo from the weather radar to the Reds account, asking where they saw a window to play.
Rizzo, a cancer survivor, takes COVID-19 seriously. He even has a habit of carrying hand sanitizer with him when he is on duty. He has a point here too. Based on what is known about how COVID-19 is transmitted, the chances are higher when individuals are exposed for long periods of time to larger crowds in closed or poorly ventilated areas at distances intimate. Incorporating more than 30 people into the standard Big League clubhouse for hours at a time seems like a questionable idea (although the players are supposed to be masked).
It has to be seen if MLB takes Rizzo’s criticism to heart and starts making obvious calls on weather-related postponements earlier than usual. It can’t hurt if the league is to do everything possible to avoid this other kind of postponement.