Covid and MLB

radsoxfan

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From Nate Silver, generally mirroring my thoughts as well (bolded tweets are his).

--The math for baseball is fairly brutal. Right now (per @youyanggu) an estimated 2% of the US population has an active COVID-19 infection. With an average traveling party of 40 people (e.g. 30 players, 10 coaches/staff) it's going to be pretty hard to avoid outbreaks

-- Note that you *can't* assume that the chances off all 40 players/coaches having COVID-19 are independent, since they're all hanging out in groups, have similar exposures, etc.

-- But suppose each team consists of 8 groups of 5 people (e.g. infielders, starting pitchers) who hang out together, and given current transmission rates within the US, each group has a 2% chance of having at least one member with COVID-19.

-- That means, at any given time, that about 15% of teams (or 4 of the 30 MLB clubs) would have a COVID cluster somewhere in their midst. Obviously that's very back-of- the-envelope, but it seems to roughly match what we're seeing so far.



Baseball is unfortunately trying to squeeze in an abbreviated schedule at a time with a ridiculously high US infection density. It remains to be seen if they can salvage anything at all, but the odds are stacked against them.

With this much COVID everywhere, a bubble might be the only way to pull it off. A month or two from now with the NFL, maybe the answer will be different. Maybe.
 
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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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From Nate Silver, generally mirroring my thoughts as well (bolded tweets are his).

--The math for baseball is fairly brutal. Right now (per @youyanggu) an estimated 2% of the US population has an active COVID-19 infection. With an average traveling party of 40 people (e.g. 30 players, 10 coaches/staff) it's going to be pretty hard to avoid outbreaks

-- Note that you *can't* assume that the chances off all 40 players/coaches having COVID-19 are independent, since they're all hanging out in groups, have similar exposures, etc.

-- But suppose each team consists of 8 groups of 5 people (e.g. infielders, starting pitchers) who hang out together, and given current transmission rates within the US, each group has a 2% chance of having at least one member with COVID-19.

-- That means, at any given time, that about 15% of teams (or 4 of the 30 MLB clubs) would have a COVID cluster somewhere in their midst. Obviously that's very back-of- the-envelope, but it seems to roughly match what we're seeing so far.



Baseball is unfortunately trying to squeeze in an abbreviated schedule at a time with a ridiculously high US infection density. It remains to be seen if they can salvage anything at all, but the odds are stacked against them.

With this much COVID everywhere, a bubble might be the only way to pull it off. A month or two from now with the NFL, maybe the answer will be different. Maybe.
Thank you for this post.

If Dr. Michael Osterholm is correct about the impact on cases from schools and colleges reopening (we might see north of 100k cases/day) - and again he consulted with NY State so he has some idea of how to deal with this bug - that "maybe " seems even more farfetched.

That said, I know that you are just trying to keep all paths open and we might luck out with a vaccine or, at least, other sports bubble success to date may compel both MLB and the NFL to change their approaches.
 

Gdiguy

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From Nate Silver, generally mirroring my thoughts as well (bolded tweets are his).

--The math for baseball is fairly brutal. Right now (per @youyanggu) an estimated 2% of the US population has an active COVID-19 infection. With an average traveling party of 40 people (e.g. 30 players, 10 coaches/staff) it's going to be pretty hard to avoid outbreaks

-- Note that you *can't* assume that the chances off all 40 players/coaches having COVID-19 are independent, since they're all hanging out in groups, have similar exposures, etc.

-- But suppose each team consists of 8 groups of 5 people (e.g. infielders, starting pitchers) who hang out together, and given current transmission rates within the US, each group has a 2% chance of having at least one member with COVID-19.

-- That means, at any given time, that about 15% of teams (or 4 of the 30 MLB clubs) would have a COVID cluster somewhere in their midst. Obviously that's very back-of- the-envelope, but it seems to roughly match what we're seeing so far.



Baseball is unfortunately trying to squeeze in an abbreviated schedule at a time with a ridiculously high US infection density. It remains to be seen if they can salvage anything at all, but the odds are stacked against them.

With this much COVID everywhere, a bubble might be the only way to pull it off. A month or two from now with the NFL, maybe the answer will be different. Maybe.
I don't want to be too negative, because I agree with the overall point, but - the thing is, MLB should be able to do massively better than the national average. That 2% average number includes a ton of people who are at way higher risk due to their living situation (prisons, nursing homes) or work (meat-packing plants, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants), and that's not getting into the 30% of the country that thinks wearing masks is anti-freedom. If their infection rate is as high as the national average, they're doing something very wrong.

I'm not shocked at all that at some point they'd get a COVID cluster, but if they were taking it seriously these 2 pretty clearly shouldn't have happened (and if the reporting is to be believed, 'they' here means 'the players and staff that engaged in high-risk activities', not MLB itself)
 

radsoxfan

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I don't want to be too negative, because I agree with the overall point, but - the thing is, MLB should be able to do massively better than the national average. That 2% average number includes a ton of people who are at way higher risk due to their living situation (prisons, nursing homes) or work (meat-packing plants, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants), and that's not getting into the 30% of the country that thinks wearing masks is anti-freedom. If their infection rate is as high as the national average, they're doing something very wrong.
I partially agree, playing in the MLB definitely shouldn't be "high risk", though there are some things pushing in the other direction. They are traveling, staying in hotels, congregating inside locker rooms/dugouts with others, etc.

I think those things push them close to an "average risk" category, some people are able to distance/isolate a lot more than that right now.
 

radsoxfan

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Does anyone know what "inconclusive test" means in this setting? Has anyone explained? I'm not aware of anything test other than binary yes/no answer.

If they are using the rapid antigen test, I've been told those are very specific but not sensitive (if it's positive, its legit. If it's negative, it could be wrong).
 

cwright

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Does anyone know what "inconclusive test" means in this setting? Has anyone explained? I'm not aware of anything test other than binary yes/no answer.

If they are using the rapid antigen test, I've been told those are very specific but not sensitive (if it's positive, its legit. If it's negative, it could be wrong).
I saw one baseball reporter on twitter say that it meant one of the two tests (nasal and saliva) was positive and the other was negative. I will try to find the tweet.

Edit: here it is:

"The Cardinals inconclusive tests yesterday for those unclear, means an individual tested positive for nasal OR saliva, and then negative for the other. That’s why they were deemed “inconclusive” As @JeffPassan said the NEW positives are the key today. "
 
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radsoxfan

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I saw one baseball reporter on twitter say that it meant one of the two tests (nasal and saliva) was positive and the other was negative. I will try to find the tweet.

Edit: here it is:

"
The Cardinals inconclusive tests yesterday for those unclear, means an individual tested positive for nasal OR saliva, and then negative for the other. That’s why they were deemed “inconclusive” As @JeffPassan said the NEW positives are the key today. "
Thanks. Generally speaking, I don't know of any tests that are not specific. I would assume most "inconclusive" tests are probably positive.
 

soxhop411

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Can you post that comment?
Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut the season down, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear that season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league's protocols.

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league's 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players not wearing masks, high-fiving and spitting have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Sadly, it may take more severe cases that require long term hospitalizations or evens deaths for the owners to move on this. As long as most cases remain asymptomatic and players return quickly, “we can always make up the games later” will be the plan.
 

DeadlySplitter

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still nothing concrete on the Cardinals seems very ominous for what could be announced tomorrow, but I'm probably reading too much into it.
 

gammoseditor

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It’s going to take players opting out to cancel the season. Manfred works for the owners and the owners are taking no risk by playing the games. They’re not going to voluntarily give up money while players are willing to play.

Normally I’m on the players side but I don’t get what Trevor Bauer’s criticism of Manfred is. He is free to opt out at any time.
 

Danny_Darwin

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It’s going to take players opting out to cancel the season. Manfred works for the owners and the owners are taking no risk by playing the games. They’re not going to voluntarily give up money while players are willing to play.

Normally I’m on the players side but I don’t get what Trevor Bauer’s criticism of Manfred is. He is free to opt out at any time.
I can’t speak to Bauer’s comments specifically, but I think it’s hard for us outsiders to know what the dynamic is in the various MLB clubhouses right now. It’s easy for us to say they should opt out, and maybe more will, but I wonder if there is pressure on some players to stick around as long as the games are happening. The biggest names to drop out so far are probably Price, Posey, and Cain - the Cespedes thing seems like its own situation - are all guys who’ve probably signed their last contract, who (coincidentally or not) all have rings already, and all are veterans who don’t really have much else to prove. I don’t know, I could certainly be wrong about this, but I wonder if there are players who feel like they can’t just opt out for whatever reason, and they’re hoping someone else makes the decision for them.
 

gammoseditor

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That’s fair. I couldn’t fault any player that felt that way. At the same time I can’t fault Manfred either. A lot of people are under a lot of stress.

I do wonder if more could have been done. A lot of coaches are testing positive. I’m not sure anything more than a manager is essential to play the games. It’d be different but why risk non essential personnel?
 

snowmanny

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I saw one baseball reporter on twitter say that it meant one of the two tests (nasal and saliva) was positive and the other was negative. I will try to find the tweet.

Edit: here it is:

"The Cardinals inconclusive tests yesterday for those unclear, means an individual tested positive for nasal OR saliva, and then negative for the other. That’s why they were deemed “inconclusive” As @JeffPassan said the NEW positives are the key today. "
LOL in my world that’s called “positive.”
 

DJnVa

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During the Sox-MFY game yesterday they said they had talked with Boone and he said they've had discussions amongst the team that following the rules gives them an advantage in that it's the best way to stay healthy. It *seems* from reading between the lines that the teams think the Marlins/Cardinals were being careless.
 

InstaFace

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No. If this is as bad as the Marlin, MLB can’t continue to stick their heads in the sand and continue like nothing has happened
Sure they can. They've been doing it for a week now. All the other games are proceeding apace. It doesn't make it a good idea, but there is nothing compelling Manfred to cancel the season right now, if we assume he lacks the decency, common sense, and willingness to forego income for his owners which would / should have had him reach the point of doing so already.

If something cannot continue, it will stop. Therefore, if something has not stopped, it is not true that it "could not continue".
 

Mooch

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Ken Rosenthal

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No announcement yet from MLB on Cardinals’ COVID-19 test results, but Tigers were told tomorrow night’s scheduled game at Comerica Park is “highly unlikely” to be played, a source tells The Athletic. Teams also scheduled for doubleheader Wednesday and afternoon game Thursday.
 

jose melendez

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I'm all for crapping on the MLB owners, and their lack of protocols is intolerable. However, reckless behavior by the players is the big issue. A bunch of Marlins did something objectyively high risk--that's on them.
 

Gdiguy

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I'm all for crapping on the MLB owners, and their lack of protocols is intolerable. However, reckless behavior by the players is the big issue. A bunch of Marlins did something objectyively high risk--that's on them.
Agreed - I hate defending MLB, but if anything, the fact that two teams have apparently had outbreaks that didn't spread either to umpires or the other teams they played is actually a positive for MLB's overall implementation
 

Danny_Darwin

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I can’t speak to Bauer’s comments specifically, but I think it’s hard for us outsiders to know what the dynamic is in the various MLB clubhouses right now. It’s easy for us to say they should opt out, and maybe more will, but I wonder if there is pressure on some players to stick around as long as the games are happening. The biggest names to drop out so far are probably Price, Posey, and Cain - the Cespedes thing seems like its own situation - are all guys who’ve probably signed their last contract, who (coincidentally or not) all have rings already, and all are veterans who don’t really have much else to prove. I don’t know, I could certainly be wrong about this, but I wonder if there are players who feel like they can’t just opt out for whatever reason, and they’re hoping someone else makes the decision for them.
Upon further consideration, I wonder if some players also might fear retribution from owners if they opt out, particularly those like Bauer who are nearing free agency.

I acknowledge I’m not really basing this on anything other than trying to think why Bauer is still playing while also vocally opposing the plan. I know he’s got this whole plan for free agency, and maybe he’s worried about collusion?
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Jeter still in denial about his club. Bill Shaikin has a three tweet thread quoting Jeter...

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter: "Some of our traveling party had a false sense of security."
"Our guys were not running all around team after our game in Atlanta." Jeter said a couple guys left team hotel, but not for bars or clubs.
"There is no way to identify how this got into our clubhouse," Jeter said.


View: https://twitter.com/BillShaikin/status/1290374232564592641


Uh huh, only a couple guys went out, but not to a bar or club. So I guess that means the best practice for road teams going forward is the Toronto summer camp method...no one leaves the hotel under penalty of fines and possible jail time.
 

YTF

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Jeter still in denial about his club. Bill Shaikin has a three tweet thread quoting Jeter...

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter: "Some of our traveling party had a false sense of security."
"Our guys were not running all around team after our game in Atlanta." Jeter said a couple guys left team hotel, but not for bars or clubs.

"There is no way to identify how this got into our clubhouse," Jeter said.

View: https://twitter.com/BillShaikin/status/1290374232564592641


Uh huh, only a couple guys went out, but not to a bar or club. So I guess that means the best practice for road teams going forward is the Toronto summer camp method...no one leaves the hotel under penalty of fines and possible jail time.
Well actually, if you contact trace everyone who is infected (which I'm guessing they have), you might be able to narrow things down enough so that you have a pretty good idea of how it got there (which I'm guessing that they also have).
 

jose melendez

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Jeter still in denial about his club. Bill Shaikin has a three tweet thread quoting Jeter...

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter: "Some of our traveling party had a false sense of security."
"Our guys were not running all around team after our game in Atlanta." Jeter said a couple guys left team hotel, but not for bars or clubs.
"There is no way to identify how this got into our clubhouse," Jeter said.


View: https://twitter.com/BillShaikin/status/1290374232564592641


Uh huh, only a couple guys went out, but not to a bar or club. So I guess that means the best practice for road teams going forward is the Toronto summer camp method...no one leaves the hotel under penalty of fines and possible jail time.
This really has to put a dent into his reputation as a leader
 

54thMA

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Think he's trying to say we got caught with our pants down breaking protocol going to a casino, and are now outraged that people are actually looking into it (contact tracing)...
Him saying we got caught with our pants down would be more appropriate if they broke protocol by going to a strip joint, no?
 

joe dokes

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Owners might even be in favor of it. Hotels cost money, but it probably cost money to open up a stadium with no fans, too.