MLB Against a Pandemic



COVID-19 has brought many obstacles to our lives, however, MLB has managed to hold their season without causing detrimental harm to players, staff and fans.

Ryan W., Ryan A., and Nicole D.

Coronavirus has been a nearly unstoppable force, yet it didn’t prevent Major League Baseball from hosting a thrilling World Series this year. The favored Dodgers took on the upstart Rays and defeated them in six games. In general, the shortened season was a success and baseball avoided controversy. That was until game 6, when COVID-19 inserted itself into the baseball story. 

In order for the season to occur, MLB introduced multiple rule changes and inserted strict protocols to keep players and staff healthy. The playoffs allows 16 teams to compete for a chance at the championship. All games were held at specific stadiums to reduce the spread of the virus and avoid an outbreak. This year, the stadiums included Petco Park, Globe Life Field, Minute Maid Park and Dodgers Stadium. 

The season did not start off without issues, as there were positive tests in the Miami Marlins organization, followed afterward by the St. Louis Cardinals. The outbreaks introduced many hardships for both teams, as they had to reschedule multiple games. The St. Louis Cardinals missed two weeks of play and had to condense 53 games into 45 days. As the season moved along, the number of positive tests in the MLB dropped. By the close of the regular season, the league only had 91 positive tests from both the players and staff throughout 30 teams over a two-month period. 

Despite all of the drama, fans looked forward to a great series. The teams could not have been more different from each other. The Los Angeles Dodgers had been the top dogs for years, touting one of the highest payrolls in baseball, while the Rays have consistently been the lowest budget franchise in MLB. Regardless, both teams were evenly matched. They had won their respective leagues and advanced to the finals. The Rays pitching and ALCS MVP, Randy Arozerana, carried the Rays to their first World Series appearance since 2008. Both teams had the best record in their leagues with the Dodgers going 43-17 and the Rays going 40-20.

This was the first postseason where teams did not have fans in the stands, but later in the playoffs, the MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, announced a change: “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.” Following this announcement, the MLB allowed 25% capacity for all the games at Globe Life Park, where the National League Championship Series and the World Series took place. 

Even though fans were allowed at the stadium, the MLB still took necessary measures to ensure a safe and successful series. 

Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Jeff Ijadi of Premier Medicine in Claremont said, “I think it is okay to have fans at the stadiums, as long as they follow the necessary guidelines.” 

Despite health concerns throughout the series, it all worked out. But during the 8th inning of Game 6, the Dodgers made an unusual move by removing their star third baseman, Justin Turner. It was later revealed that Turner had tested positive for COVID-19. “He was immediately isolated to prevent spread. … It’s a bittersweet night for us. We’re glad to be done. I do think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get this season completed, but obviously we’re concerned when any of our players test positive,” said Robert Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB. Following this announcement, all Dodgers players were tested when they went back to their hotel, with results still to come. 

“That wasn’t smart for Turner to celebrate with the team, they should’ve isolated him when they got the results,” said Dr. Jeff Ijadi.

Fortunately, the third basemen had no symptoms and hopes to return to a normal off-season soon. “Thanks to everyone for reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all,” said Turner.

As wild as this year has been, fans and players were ecstatic to enjoy the sport of baseball again. MLB is hoping to play a regular season next spring, but time will tell. 

“We will see how things move along,” said Dr. Ijadi.