With COVID-19 threatening every sport, every league has to make plenty of tough decisions. The MLB is no exception to these troubling times. How soon can the MLB start again? How many games will be played, and how will this impact salaries? More importantly, with a global pandemic affecting the lives of billions worldwide, how can anyone fully guarantee safety?
Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on what should and shouldn’t occur, but most of us will never step on the diamond in an MLB game. Let’s think about the people whose opinions really matter: the players. These players risk their bodies everyday for our enjoyment, and their safety is paramount. Blake Snell, an ace for the Tampa Bay Rays, has been outspoken about his stance.
Snell, on a Twitch stream, said:
“No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”Quote taken from ESPN.com
Some fans have argued against Snell, and some have supported the ace. While we all want sports back in our lives as quickly as possible, we can’t rush into a potentially lethal situation to satisfy our boredom. Snell is 100% correct, and he brings light to the idea that no one wants to embrace: we are going to be without sports for a while longer. There are three main reasons why: pay, health, and safety.
The majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their pay, and most would refuse to take a pay decrease. Imagine starting a project, and – through no fault of your own – you are being told that you will receive less than your contract stipulates. Wouldn’t you be upset? Also, we aren’t talking about a small decrease. This would be a substantial decrease for an athlete of Snell’s caliber. Why should he be forced to accept less than what he agreed to in his contract? Another major factor is the health of the athlete.
When I say health, I mean physical and mental health, and this excludes COVID-19. Players have routines and processes to get ready for the season, and this pandemic has drastically altered plans and methods of preparing. Athletes aren’t at 100%, and they risk injury – potentially career-ending injuries- just to complete this season. Also, mental health is a concern, too. How does this condition of the world impact people? How does family life and internal matters impact each person? Most important, consider the safety of each athlete.
Snell also said, “Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing?” With the risk being “through the roof,” as Snell went on to say, why shouldn’t every athlete be petrified? No one truly knows everything about this disease, and there isn’t a sure-fire way to eliminate risk. Also, we aren’t talking about potential sniffles and sneezes; we are talking about a disease that has already led to thousands of deaths. All it takes is one death, and the entire MLB community would be destroyed. We can’t risk the safety of our stars for one season.
Other MLB stars – like Bryce Harper – have defended Snell’s opinion, and this won’t be the end of this conversation. There will be plenty of ideas that need to be debated and hashed out before the season occurs, but we need to stop things indefinitely until this pandemic is more effectively controlled. One season is not worth the safety of thousands of athletes, personnel, and coaches.