(Reuters) – Major League Baseball warned the MLB Players Association on Friday to get serious about COVID-19 safety protocols or risk having the season shut down, ESPN reported citing unnamed sources.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred delivered the stern message to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark after Friday’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and host Milwaukee Brewers became the latest to be postponed after two visiting players tested positive for coronavirus.
According to the ESPN report, players who were briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if there are more positive tests and players continue to flaunt safety protocols.
The Cardinals and Brewers join a growing list of teams who have seen their schedules impacted by a run of positive COVID-19 tests.
The Miami Marlins were the first to suffer an outbreak among their team and MLB has since shut down the club for a week, meaning they will need to make up seven games during an already-truncated 60-game season that began just last Thursday.
Unlike the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer, which have assembled in a restricted campus at Disney World in Florida, most MLB teams are playing in their usual stadiums and following a schedule designed to limit travel.
State and local officials as well as the league have expressed concerns that players are being lackadaisical about the safety guidelines in MLB’s 113-page operations manual and making bad choices on and off the field, ESPN reported.
Television broadcasts have shown players not social distancing, not wearing masks, high-fiving and spitting.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)