“I would’ve been willing to do the bubble. I thought, personally, that was a no-brainer. But I don’t speak for everybody,” he said.
In an interview with MLB Network Monday evening, Manfred said, “We knew that we were going to have positives at some point in time. I remain optimistic that the protocols are strong enough that it will allow us to continue to play, even through an outbreak like this, and complete our season.”
Baseball adjusted its schedule so that teams would play only within their geographic divisions this season, yet reduced travel is still travel, with all it entails — flights, bus rides, checking in and out of hotels, meals, hauling equipment from clubhouse to clubhouse, and so on. Some of the official safety rules seemed unrealistic and have been routinely broken, such as the ban on high-fiving and spitting, strict social distancing in the dugout and replacing any balls touched by multiple players.
Scott Servais, the manager of the Seattle Mariners, said Monday that players and staff must be more vigilant. At big moments in games, he said, safety protocols have been ignored.
“I think we’re saying all the right stuff, but then you watch the games,” he said. “We have to do the right thing. And sometimes you let your emotions get in the way, you just react, and we weren’t clearly thinking and slowing it down enough in those spots.”
David Price, a veteran pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who opted out of playing this season, citing his family’s health, questioned the sincerity of baseball’s commitment to players’ well-being.
“Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first,” Price wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”