It started when Aaron Nola was mistakenly thought to have tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s when some of the questions began about what would happen with the team if the pandemic started to hit home.
Then Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley missed some time, one for an actual positive test, the other because his test was lost and had to wait to take another one.
Now that both are in camp and have begun their workouts, it’s time to start asking that question we may not want to ask ourselves:
Should they even be playing this season?
In an interview with Jim Salisbury, Kingery went into detail about what his experience with the coronavirus was like.
“It started on a Thursday (June 11) when I came down with a headache,” the Phillies second baseman told NBC Sports Philadelphia from his home in Phoenix on Tuesday. “I tried to play it off but it didn’t go away. Saturday around 10 a.m., I got chills so bad I couldn’t move without my whole body shaking. That night, my fever spiked so high that I sweated through my sheets. It left an imprint of my body. My fever broke Sunday morning and I actually felt a little better. But then three or four days later, I lost my sense of taste and smell for a few days. That was really annoying. For a week, I was so tired. Low energy. Fatigue. Then I experienced shortness of breath for a week. I felt like I laid on the couch for three weeks without moving. I was tired just going up the stairs.”
That, my friends, is scary. Quoted in another interview as calling the virus a “hell”, it really hits home for Phillies fans when someone they are counting on this season to produce shows that the effects of the virus are actually very real.
Adam Haseley had a different experience. Haseley didn’t test postitive. He didn’t have any of the contact tracing, meaning he hadn’t come in contact with anyone who did test positive. Yet because of an “error” with his test, he was not allowed to come into the camp for several days, only taking and passing a test on Monday. It’s something that has been the big story of the last few days in baseball, the failure of baseball to be able to get results of tests back into the hands of teams, thus clearing them to resume practices.
It was common knowledge that when this season and the plan to play was put into action, there would be issues. Being able to get all of these players and personnel tested and on the field in a relatively short amount of time, plus the protocols that were put into place that would theoretically keep the players safe and healthy, was all a massive undertaking by the league. Now that we have seen what could happen to teams if there are positive tests/errors in testing/delays in testing, it begs the question whether playing the season at all is worth it.
While we as baseball fans are excited with the possibility that baseball will begin games shortly, we also anticipated being able to see the teams at full strength. Players and coaches have begun opting out of the season, depriving teams of a fully functional roster that could get them to the postseason. There have also been players that have tested positive for the coronavirus, depriving the teams of their talents now and in the immediate future. Once players continue to test positive - and they will test positive - it is fair to wonder if this will all be worth it. At what point does the league concede that the rising numbers of positive tests outside of the game, coupled with the number of players that could test positive within it, is too much for the league to keep functioning. That’s something that I’m sure they have grappled with.
Having a season already neutered by the schedule, who wants to see rosters depleted to the point where some of the names that populate are only recognizable to those with a deeper knowledge of the team’s minor league system? Sure we all want to see baseball, but what we don’t want to see is a team that more resembles a spring training game than a regular season one. When I turn on the Phillies at the end of the month, I want to see Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto every night, not Kyle Garlick and Roman Quinn and Deivy Grullon (no offense to those guys).
I won’t begrudge anyone who is not looking forward to this season. I won’t begrudge anyone who has no intention of watching any games at all. Personally, I’ll be watching as much baseball as I can for fear that it could go away at any second, but I’m also hoping that the season goes by as fast possible so that the players can get back to their safety as soon as possible with no consequences.
While some people will no doubt shrug off the virus and its potential impact on the game, saying that there won’t be as much of an issue as people are making it out to be, having someone on the Phillies contract the virus and speak up about the complications with it really starts to make it hit home. Let’s hope that as the season progresses, MLB is able to have the courage enough to end the season if the numbers become overwhelming.