If we’re going to keep the tightrope analogy going, yesterday saw baseball briefly slip one foot off of it, increasing fears of a tumble.
Early in the day, a number of teams cancelled their workouts due to the fact that they weren’t getting test results back in a timely manner. The Cardinals initially pushed their afternoon practice to the evening, but then John Mozeliak, noting “frustration” over not having results, went ahead and cancelled the workouts as well. In a camp that was not going to have much room for getting people ready in its best iterations, losing an entire day because of no test results makes you realize more and more that July 24 isn’t guaranteed to have a game, even if MLB announced the schedule last night.
MLB put out a statement basically blaming the whole thing on delivery over a holiday weekend, but I’m not sure how well that flies. One, you are going to have Labor Day coming up in season and if you can’t do any better then, you’ll have games cancelled, and two, it feels like some of these should have been at least received in the lab before the holiday kicked off. Maybe not, maybe it is all a timing thing, but given that you are trying to run so many tests through one place in Utah, these sort of bottlenecks are probably to be expected. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem. That doesn’t even get into perhaps a bigger issue, that the actual testers aren’t showing up to conduct the tests. The Cards seemed to have had this problem as have other teams, some of which have just collected the samples themselves and sent them off.
Look, the manual for baseball’s return was thoroughly written, but until you put things into practice, it’s just a theory. It’s a rare time when all the logistics are given full consideration and contingency plans put into place. There was an idea at one time, for instance, that the whole testing procedure and results would be done on site. Obviously, that’s not happening, but the quick implementation of a vast plan has some bumps, wrinkles, and hiccups. Perhaps it’s better to find them now instead of in season, but there’s no guarantee these things can be fixed, either. Until there is consistent turn around time with the testing, that Opening Day date has to be looked at with a fairly critical eye.
Mozeliak also noted yesterday that there would be some people added to the camp at Busch. At this rate, everyone’s going to come to Busch and then eventually be sent to Springfield when the rosters are cut down. The players were being tested yesterday and hopefully they can be added today. However, it’s testing, so you just never know. The club has already announced 45 players that are supposed to be in camp (though some have yet to take the field) so there’s not much room for anyone to just show up in Springfield. My guess is it will be just the prospects (Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore) that they don’t want to use in the bigs unless they really have to. People like Zack Thompson, who might have an outside shot at making the roster, could be in this group that are announced later on today. (EDIT: It looks like a couple of names, Angel Rondon and Julio Rodriguez, are out there because they were on the same plane from the Dominican as some of the positive tests.)
It’s a mess, folks. Honestly, though, should we expect anything else from 2020?