- The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 28, 2020


So what was that phone call all about back in April between President Trump and all the sports commissioners — including MLB boss Rob Manfred?

Did the president assure them not to worry about this virus, that he would have it under control soon and they could open their sports for America?

Or did he talk about his remarkable performance on the cognitive test he took several years ago and how he “aced” it?

“Hey Robbie, you should have seen how quick I was on that test. Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV. Let’s see you do that, Robbie. And by the way, I want to throw the first pitch out at one of these baseball games with no fans. And make sure the players don’t boo me, either. Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV. Hard to do, isn’t it Robbie?”

Manfred himself might have a tough time handling that test now, what with the pressure of his manufactured short season being crushed by the reality of the coronavirus that is threatening to wipe out the schedule, with at least 19 positive test on the Miami Marlins and counting.

The commissioner on Monday cited the 113-page coronavirus safety manual baseball came up with to protect players when he declared the Marlins crisis was not as bad as it was being made out to be.

“I don’t see it as a nightmare,” he told the MLB Network. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play.”

The problem is that even if one actually believes that this 113-page fairy tale could protect players, even if you could get players to adhere to the safety rules, the entire house of cards is built on the premise that the federal government would have had a handle on this crisis by now.

Now where do you suppose the commissioners would have gotten that idea? Maybe that April phone call?

Instead, the federal government’s virus protection plan turned out to be like a copy of Mad magazine, with the president’s motto, “What me worry?”

For the most part, the effort to start up sports in this atmosphere is arrogant and ignorant.

Here we are, in July, just a few days after the start of Major League Baseball, and it’s become a sinking ship, with players and others looking for lifeboats, losing any confidence they had in the commissioner and his plan to protect them.

Nationals players voted not to go to Miami this weekend for a three-game series against the Marlins.

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen went on Twitter and wrote, “I come on Twitter to find out if we are playing or not. I don’t wait for a text because media knows answer before us.”

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price, who already opted out of the season before it started, posted on Twitter, “Now we really get to see if MLB is going to put players health first. 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.”

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who had to be hospitalized for a few days last September for a heart problem, told reporters Monday, “I’m going to be honest with you. I’m scared.”

The fear factor is real, no matter what the numbers say.

Guarantee there are new conversations taking place between players and their families about the risk for all of them.

“Hopefully this is the worst outbreak we have this season, because it will teach us some things,” Dodgers President Stan Kasten told reporters. “But I do think we expected something like this at some point.”

This is July. Not September or October. July.

This is what is coming in September. And October.

“Deaths nationwide are predicted to remain fairly level through August and begin to rise again in the fourth week of August with a more pronounced increase during September, although some states will see the increase earlier due to increased mobility and relaxation of social distancing mandates.”

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

That’s during NFL season, isn’t it?

ESPN reported that teams plan on painting social justice messages on end zone borders in Week One — assuming there is a Week One.

By Week Four, they may be painting, “Send doctors.”

Hear Thom Loverro Tuesdays and Thursdays on The Kevin Sheehan Podcast and Wednesday afternoons on Chad Dukes Vs. The World on 106.7 The Fan.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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