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Will MLB teams play ball? Why things may be OK, and how they might fall apart.

Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

"There's a little part in everyone's mind that thinks this is going to be shut down," Diekman said on a call with reporters. "They might not say it, but there's a little bit of fear in everyone's head that it might happen."

For this season to function, the most essential moving piece is the testing process. Players are tested every other day, and if the results aren't returned in the timely manner promised in the protocols, then the backlog could cause costly delays during a season already cut way short. What if an entire series needs to be postponed because of a testing backlog?

Diekman's safety is of concern, but he hopes he can use his platform to push the league to create more safety net under all this: More transparent test results or another testing lab to relieve pressure on the designated lab in Salt Lake City.

If glaring holes within the testing process aren't resolved, and safety does become a concern, it's possible complications become too onerous for the season to continue.

Then there is the very real fear that the virus could infect and spread within baseball. On Friday, MLB said 13 players and four staffers tested positive after workouts started, totaling 58 players and eight staffers to test positive so far. Some players have already opted out to eliminate doubt -- including San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who with his wife, Kristen, adopted twin girls born prematurely.

Major League Soccer withdrew its second team from the "MLS Is Back" tournament after nine players from Nashville SC tested positive. FC Dallas was withdrawn earlier in the week when 10 players on that team tested positive.

 

The fragility of the MLB bubble requires every single player, coach and staff member to be diligent for 66-plus days.

Optimism: Players, coaches want this to work

Even with the initial hiccups, players -- particularly around the A's -- seemed only disappointed and not necessarily despondent. Diekman, though frustrated, spoke out because he wanted fixes to be made, not because he felt the attempt to start a season was destined to fail.

Be optimistic that a season will go on because everyone who is opting into the season, it seems, is dedicated toward making it work.

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