David Price on coronavirus outbreak: MLB isn't putting players' health first

Mike Oz
·3-min read

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price has previously opted out of the 2020 season, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to stay quiet about his opinions on how MLB is running things.

Monday’s news of a coronavirus outbreak on the Miami Marlins — which has infected 13 players and coaches, postponed at least two games and impacted four teams — caused Price to speak out about his gripes with how MLB is handling this season.

Price said the league isn’t putting players’ health first, and that’s part of the reason he opted not to play.

Price isn’t necessarily wrong. MLB’s plan puts its players at greater risk than that of the NBA, for example, where games are taking place in a bubble. The bubble concept would have created a more self-contained environment.

MLB’s plan scaled back the season to 60 games and regionalized travel, but it still comes with risks that a bubble plan wouldn’t have — namely the idea that players go home every day, interact with people at hotels and on busses and planes. MLB’s 2020 season comes with a 100-plus-page guide for health and safety protocols, which is well-intentioned, but we’ve already learned in four days how things can get muddy quickly.

Even before the Marlins outbreak, we saw Matt Davidson of the Reds play a game between getting tested and getting positive results. That could have potentially infected his teammates and the opposing Detroit Tigers.

The Marlins situation was even more troublesome. Four players had tested positive before Sunday’s game against the Phillies, but they played anyway. The Marlins canceled their flight back to Miami, opting to stay in Philly another day while they waited for test results. By Monday, four players had turned into 13 players and coaches. In the middle of that time, they played a game and occupied the Phillies’ visiting clubhouse.

Dodgers pitcher David Price speaks out about 2020 season after opting out. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Dodgers pitcher David Price speaks out about 2020 season after opting out. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

None of this is a situation where the players’ health is “paramount,” as Price says. The league would have immediately postponed Sunday’s game, if that were the case.

The league is reportedly doubling down on its health and safety protocols following the Marlins outbreak, which means it will enforce rules like no spitting and no high-fives more, while also forcing players to wear masks in the dugout. But it’s not talking about pausing or canceling the season. So Price is right.

The first outbreak has hit MLB and all eyes in sports are on what will happen next. Will the league take further measures to protect players? Will more players opt out of the season like Price after seeing this?

It seems like there are more questions than answers right now.

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