The Washington Nationals are making their pitch to President-elect Joe Biden.Nationals make their pitch to President-elect Joe Biden, invite him to throw first pitch — MLB | NBC Sports
The Washington Nationals just created a MASSIVE headache for Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball“Vast majority” of Nationals players vote against making road trip to Miami — HardballTalk | NBC Sports
The Washington Nationals are scheduled to play a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami this weekend. The same Marlins who, as you know, are having a thing at the moment. The Nationals, however, don’t wanna go: Ken Rosenthal just reported that “In team vote, vast majority of Nationals players voted against going to Miami for three-game series this weekend.
This is a massive problem for Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball.
To be clear: pursuant to the March Agreement and the later MLB-MLBPA agreed-upon health and safety protocols, teams do not have the power to simply not play games if they think it’s unsafe. That power rests with Rob Manfred and the clubs. If the Nationals decide to simply not get on the bus to the airport after their game against the Blue Jays on Thursday evening, they will technically be engaging in a wildcat strike.
To which I say: good for them.
As we’ve noted in the past twenty four hours, Major League Baseball seems to have abdicated its role in making these sorts of decisions. The Marlins, as has been reported, decided to play on Sunday over a group text. Since then baseball has reacted, postponing some games, but it’s not at all clear what philosophy is guiding them. If the Nationals players do not feel safe playing that series, they should not play that series. If it takes them making that decision for themselves rather than waiting for Major League Baseball to do so, so be it.
In the meantime, this creates a massive problem for Rob Manfred. If he orders the Nationals to play in Miami regardless of their feelings on the matter, he’ll look like a dictator who cares little for player health and will lose whatever confidence the players have in him. If he allows the Nationals to sit out the trip, on the other hand, he has formally ceded his power over the schedule to the rosters of the thirty teams.
Where I think this goes in the next couple of days is a great many conference calls after which some sort of compromise is announced that allows this all to look like the league is handling this pursuant to a plan. But make no mistake, the fact that a team is voting on whether to play games or not — and the fact that they’re leaking that fact to the press — is strong evidence that there is no plan here at all. Or, at the very least, that the players do not have confidence in whatever plan exists.
General Manager Mike Rizzo said “Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp.”Washington Nationals cancel workouts after not getting COVID-19 test results back — HardballTalk | NBC Sports
Overnight we learned about testing delays and, by extension, team workout delays due to what has been, quite frankly, Major League Baseball’s incompetence with respect to getting its COVID-19 testing program up to speed as camps open. That specifically impacted the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels and, per Ken Rosenthal, two other teams. Now we know one of the other teams: the World Series champion Washington Nationals.
The Nationals have canceled today’s workouts because they have still not received the results from tests administered on Friday. General Manager Mike Rizzo released a sternly-worded statement explaining his decision to cancel today’s work:
Per MLB’s protocol, all players and staff were tested for COVID-19 on Friday, July 3. Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests. We cannot have our players and staff work at risk. Therefore, we have canceled our team workout scheduled for this morning. We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise Summer Camp and the 2020 season are at risk.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association’s agreement to play the 2020 season was premised on all personnel from every team to undergo saliva or nasal swab test every two days from the time camps opened until the season is over. That multiple teams have already experienced lags and delays in excess of that, mere days into the beginning of the testing process, speaks very poorly for how that plan is being put into action.