Baseball’s initial COVID test results are in and feature 38 positives.
The first sign of how baseball’s summer camp experiment would go was a look at the intake test results for the coronavirus. While restless sports fans got excited about sights like Gerrit Cole taking the mound in the Bronx or hype videos from Fenway Park, the elephant in the room remains COVID-19, which caused the season to be delayed.
MLB released the results of its initial intake testing for the coronavirus and confirmed that they had 38 positive tests, with 31 of those positives belonging to players. That is a positivity rate of 1.2 percent, significantly lower than the NBA’s current positivity rate that is closer to 10 percent.
This is about as positive a result as MLB could have hoped for given the spiking caseloads of the coronavirus across the country. Many players also came back to their home sites from Florida and Arizona, two states where the spread of the coronavirus is getting out of control.
Getting nearly all parties involved in on-field work through the initial intake and into the league’s regular protocols is an important step towards the projected start of the season on July 23. Baseball’s schedule should be released next week and feature travel within regional corridors occupying the East, Central and West divisions.
The bigger concern for MLB is that unlike the NBA or NHL, which are taking their entire leagues to one or two hub locations and creating bubbles, baseball players and staff will be spread out across the country before traveling to play games. The league is entrusting a lot of personal responsibility to individual players to follow proper precautionary measures away from the field.
That means a reliance on the honor system that players won’t be tempted to go to an indoor restaurant, bar, beach party or other crowded location where they could contract the coronavirus and spread it to their teammates. Baseball hasn’t really outlined what kind of outbreak it would take to shut down a team or the league as a whole, perhaps not wanting to indicate publicly how fragile this whole exercise may be.
In the end, this news is a big win for baseball fans who are now one big step closer to seeing the season begin in just under three weeks. A lot can change between now and then, so those fans may want to cross their fingers and hope baseball keeps moving in the right direction.