Dave Martinez fearful of Nats' trip to Miami: 'I'm scared. I really am.'

Chris Lingebach
July 27, 2020 - 4:00 pm

Nationals skipper Dave Martinez was visibly shaken when discussing the possibility of traveling to Miami next weekend.

The Nats have a three-game series set to begin Friday against the Marlins, who just had 12 players and two coaches test positive for COVID-19 over the course of their weekend series in Philadelphia. Major League Baseball has responded to the outbreak by calling off Miami's home opener Monday night game against Baltimore.

Instead, the Marlins are staying back in Philly, in quarantine.

The Yankees and Phillies were scheduled to begin a home-and-home series in Philadelphia, where Miami's infected players first tested positive. Monday's game has been canceled, as the Yankees would have to use the same visiting clubhouse just occupied by the Marlins.

Enter Martinez, who had a heart condition surface last September and was noticeably concerned on Monday about the environment his club could be thrust into.

MLB should be very cautious about how it responds. After already moving mountains to make this jump-started 60-game season work, like having the Blue Jays play out their home schedule in Buffalo, forcing a club to travel to a known COVID hot spot like Miami could be viewed as extremely callous.

The smart move would be to move the game to Washington, just as the league did with the second leg of Toronto's home-and-home series with the Nationals. While all four games will be played at Nationals Park, Washington will only be the "home" team in Monday and Tuesday's games. They'll bat first in their home park on Wednesday and Thursday.

The growing reality as the 2020 MLB season continues to unfold is that flexibility will be needed in order to properly respond to these outbreaks. The league can't be so committed to uniformity, for instance, that it prioritizes adhering to its schedule over the safety of its players and staff.

Buster Olney proposed the novel approach of MLB basing its standings around winning percentage, rather than wins and losses, as the league did after the 1981 strike.

Nothing about this season is normal, so why paint yourself into the corner of forcing it when there are safer alternatives?