Plans are underway for a 60-game 2020 MLB season. Teams have reopened camps, this time in their home cities, and schedules are set to be released soon. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed and then took a large bite out of the 2020 season, the current expectation is that one will be played to completion. That, however, is by no means a certainty.
"I think there's still some doubt that we're going to have a season now. By no means is this a slam dunk. We're trying, we're going to give it our best effort, but for me to sit here and say 100 percent would be a lie."
COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus are surely underpinning Miller's remarks. While MLB received good news when the first round of testing after camps reopened yielded a COVID-19 positive rate of just 1.2 percent, uncertainty prevails.
Those numbers could increase now that players are in contact with one another, even with the abundant safety protocols in place. Multiple players have already opted out of the 2020 season because of unease about potential exposure to the virus, and those with at-risk family members -- or elevated risk profiles themselves -- have been especially, and understandably, concerned. No less a figure than Mike Trout has expressed misgivings, and the recent positive test of Freddie Freeman also elevates all those concerns.
Moreover, Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottobvy recently revealed that he, in his words, "got crushed" by a case of COVID-19 despite being just 38 years old and otherwise in good health. Yes, the fatality rate for healthy persons in the age demographic of MLB players is relatively low, but COVID-19 can still result in lasting organ damage for anyone.
And speaking of those aforementioned safety protocols, they don't appear to be fully in force even though players are going through full workouts:
Sean Doolittle: They still have not sent us the PPE gear players are supposed to have. He mentions N-95 masks, gloves, and says this is symptomatic of the negotiations being too focused on money and not enough on health and safety protocols.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 5, 2020
It's worth repeating that as of now the expectation is that the 2020 season will begin on July 23 as planned. But Miller, who's an important figure in the Players Association, isn't speaking idly when he expresses doubts that it will all come to pass.