Several New York Yankees employees tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida on Saturday, in a reminder that the labor fight isn’t the only enemy.
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No matter how ugly these negotiations get, there’s one thing MLB owners, the MLBPA and the Yankees can’t control: COVID-19.
If MLB and the MLBPA are able to work out their differences (or at least come to an understanding about them) in the coming days, the New York Yankees will escape Florida for the Bronx in order to take part in a second Spring Training.
This reactionary move was 100% necessary after a rapid uptick in positive coronavirus tests in the state of Florida, with no mechanism for slowing them down.
News spread quickly this Friday about the effect the state’s case count had already had on MLB’s resumption. First, the Phillies announced they were struggling to contain an outbreak at their Clearwater facility, with eight positives already confirmed, and plenty more tests pending. Then it was the Blue Jays who had a positive, and then the Giants, who suspected someone who visited their facility of spreading the virus, too.
On Saturday, it hit even closer to home for Bronx Bombers fans when four Yankees employees currently stationed in Florida tested positive for the virus.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 20, 2020
The reported positives come from four employees — two non-players who work at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and two connected to the minor-league complex, one of whom has not been at the facility in “a while.” It must be mentioned, too, that two Yankees minor-leaguers tested positive for the virus in March, triggering a shutdown of the complex in the first place. Recently, however, the staff had been running three workouts a week.
Now, it goes without saying, but just because the Yankees are moving camp from Florida to NYC does not mean they’ve escaped the dangers of the virus, and can now exhale. You can’t outrun a microbe.
Though the fire appears to have been put out in New York after a destructive first wave, the city is among the most cautious places in America right now. If the Yankees arrive, they’ll be held to an extremely high standard for cleanliness and safety, one it appears was not being met across the board in Florida, based on this week’s series of bombshells.
NY Smart paying off —>
“I can’t wait to see spring training in New York. Great news,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters shortly after noon.
MLB Friday shut down spring training camps in Fla &Ariz after COVID spiked in those states https://t.co/OapLTyLQvs
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) June 20, 2020
MLB’s beat writers have done a good job throughout this process, reminding fans throughout this nasty labor battle that the common enemy of the 2020 season will always be the virus, no matter what Rob Manfred mandates. In recent days, as certain regions predictably surge, the commonality of the statements has become a bit louder.
The Yankees will be headquartered here. That’s good. But they’ll be flying to Tampa to take on the Rays, taking a bus to the stadium, and sequestering themselves in local Florida hotels. Miami is also likely to be on their abbreviated schedule.
We completely understand why MLB is reportedly revisiting Bubble Baseball — it’s an idea that was pitched when the league was at its most desperate, and they’re approaching that position again, unfortunately.