The Oakland Athletics are behind everyone else in preparation for the 2020 Major League Baseball season, and it all has to do with coronavirus testing.
Oakland's COVID-19 tests were waiting to be shipped to MLB's lab in Utah, but because of the July 4 holiday were delayed. The A's position players now are still waiting for those results, which were supposed to come back within 24 hours, and MLB nor CDT (the company that collects the samples) made the organization aware of potential issues or delays that would be caused by the holiday.
A's general manager David Forst and his players couldn't have been angrier. While a majority of other teams are back to work, Oakland is going to be at a disadvantage if they can't get on the field soon. Forst relayed a message to all players involved, which was obtained by The Athletic, and acknowledged that he'll no longer be covering for MLB's screw-ups.
“I can tell you all what I expressed to Matt (Chapman) earlier today: this has nothing to do with us or our staff. The athletic training and stadium operations staffs here have worked tirelessly to get this incredibly challenging operation up and running. At this point, the blame lies with CDT and MLB and I won’t cover for them like I did earlier today. Despite having our schedule a week ahead of time, they didn’t alert us to the possibility of any complications around July 4th, and once there were issues, they did nothing to communicate that to us or remedy the situation until Nick (Paparesta, the A’s head athletic trainer) and I forced the issue at various times today. If possible, I’m as frustrated and pissed as you are (well, probably not as pissed as Matt is), and I assure you the rest of the staff is as well.”
According to MLB's health and safety protocols, in order to enter the A's facility, all players and personnel must test negative for the virus. The earliest they can hold a workout is Monday night, and that's only if they get the results back in time.
The Washington Nationals are experiencing similar issues. The organization had to cancel workouts on Monday because they're still waiting for their COVID-19 test results to return -- 72 hours later.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was livid and even questioned MLB's ability to safely run the 2020 campaign.
After MLB's first round of coronavirus testing, it was announced that 31 players tested positive for the virus. That alone has made many players consider their options for the 2020 campaign, and some already have opted out.
The weekend's testing issues certainly make it fair to question whether it is possible or prudent to hold a 2020 season.