Manfred warns union of potential Major League Baseball shutdown

Ross Houston
August 1, 2020

Manfred on Friday told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn't do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN's Jeff Passan. The Phillies, Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals, Cardinals, and Brewers have been forced to postpone games.

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred has the power to shut the season down. The team's season is paused, with infected players being bused back to Miami. For the second straight day, that night's Cardinals-Brewers game was called off - the 16th game of this Major League Baseball season to be postponed - though at this point, a scheduled doubleheader for Sunday is still on.

According to the ESPN report, players who were briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if there are more positive tests and players continue to flaunt safety protocols.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday that two staff members tested positive for coronavirus after a Sunday game against the Marlins. Two St. Louis Cardinals players were then said to have tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

Marlins players reportedly went out during their recent road trip in Atlanta and congregated at their hotel bar, leading to anger by their peers around Major League Baseball. "Players are seeing what can happen", Houston manager Dusty Baker said.

But as much as there is a grim comedy in watching a bad Marlins team try to muddle its way through an outbreak, the situation with the Phillies must have even Manfred reconsidering his opinion on nightmares. With the Marlins players still quarantined and not playing, numbers can not go up. The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees have also needed to change their schedules as part of the collateral damage.

Cleveland players and staff talked about postponing Friday night's game at Minnesota but played on.

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