There will be no games tonight in the NBA, WNBA or NHL. Nine NFL teams did not hold practice earlier in the day. A growing list of MLB teams have also decided against playing in their scheduled games. But the Orioles and Rays will have a game at Tropicana Field.
It feels odd to watch a game given the circumstances. It must feel even worse for many of the players. The decision to play does not seem to have come easily. While the Rays posted their lineup at 3:34 p.m. (about 45 minutes later than the previous day), the O’s lineups still weren’t post by the time of this writing (their lineup for Wednesday’s game was public around 3 p.m.).
MASN’s Roch Kubatko indicated that the delay could have been due to questions about whether Jose Iglesias was ready to come off of the IL or not. While that may have played some part, it doesn’t completely jive with some of manager Brandon Hyde’s quotes prior to the game, indicating that many conversations had taken place in the clubhouse prior to a team-wide vote on whether or not to play. The votes were, according to Hyde, unanimous in favor of playing.
Rays manager Kevin Cash was less forthcoming with the events behind the scenes for his team, but said they intended on playing. Tyler Glasnow, the Rays player representative, indicated a couple of hours prior to game time that things were up in the air.
What would have been really great in this situation would have been leadership of any kind from Major League Baseball. It sounds nice, in theory, to “support the players in their decision.” But in reality, it is using the players as a human shield in whatever potential blow-back results from choosing whether or not to take the field.
In the words of Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred “just doesn’t get it.”