McDonald: MLB Needs To Solve Its Testing Problem Fast

Four days into Summer Camps across Major League Baseball and the sport is experiencing hiccups in the testing.

Already, big name players like David Price and Ian Desmond have opted out of the season and some players like Kris Bryant are considering it if MLB can’t get the testing straight.

Delays in the testing results caused both the Nationals and Astros to cancel their workouts today and MLB had to release a statement blaming the delay on the holiday weekend.

“As of today, more than 95% of the tests under the Intake Screening period have been conducted, analyzed and shared with all 30 Clubs,” MLB said in a statement and commended the clubs that cancelled the workouts.  “All of the individuals among the 95% have now moved on to the phase that will test them every other day.  The remaining number of outstanding tests are expected to be completed today.”

All of this is fine and dandy, but this should be the easy part of the testing. MLB knew what was coming down the pike and the testing center should have expected the increased workload.

It’s just bad optics, especially when there are players starting to question if they should opt-out of the season or not.

“Who knows what people are doing, especially on the other teams too,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to rely on everybody in this whole thing, and if we can’t nail the really easy part, which is right now and just our players, we’ve got a big hill to climb.”

Look, the last thing MLB wants is this to become Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory with players opting out as camp continues. Already the Braves had Nick Markakis drop out after speaking to Freddie Freeman, who is experiencing some mild symptoms from COVID-19.

The ballplayers are human beings and they don’t want to expose themselves if they don’t have to. Remember they won’t have problems putting food on the table if the season was fully canceled, so essentially, they want to play it safe.

It’s worked well so far in Queens, as the Mets have had a pretty good weekend and no major reported cases. The Yankees on the other hand lost DJ LeMathieu and Luis Cessa to COVID and they will be out for three weeks.

And that’s not that bad compared to other teams such as the Braves, who are are down five players, including Freeman.

You have to hope that the testing will become smoother as camp progresses. The players will be tested every other day and MLB will have contact tracers in place.

With the social distancing protocols and mask requirements, you have to hope that all of this will be enough.

MLB can’t afford to continue to have players opt out and no one wants to see anyone sidelined due to a quarantine.

So far a player like Bryant is all aboard.

“If we can play a baseball game in front of nobody, we kind of have obligation to do that,” Bryant said. “And I feel pretty proud to be able to do that safely.

“We all want to be safe here. There’s positives to it too. The balls you hit sound louder. The pitchers can actually hear how hard they’re throwing. It’s been interesting, but it’s kind of a one-off year for everybody. So let’s make the most of it.”

And lets not turn anyone off to the game because MLB can’t get the testing right.

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