On Tuesday, four weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, Phillies second baseman Scott Kingery talked to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. He wanted to let everyone know to take the virus seriously, that “it can creep up on you and get you pretty bad like it did with me.”
Kingery also said that he was now completely symptom-free, and revealed, troublingly, that when he’d gotten a coronavirus test at an urgent care facility in Phoenix, it came back negative — it was only a second test that confirmed Kingery had the disease.
On Saturday, Kingery returned to the Phillies. And, it turns out, he’s not completely symptom-free, as he said he still is dealing with some shortness of breath, a month after getting sick.
Another piece of baseball news on Tuesday was that Royals pitcher Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have to go into isolation,” Keller said in a statement released by the team. “I am experiencing minor symptoms that remind me more of an allergy attack. Other than that, I feel great and have no other symptoms.”
O’Hearn said he was feeling fine, totally asymptomatic, but offered a dire warning.
“If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone,” he said. “So it really is important for everybody to pay attention to their surroundings and don’t assume that you’re not vulnerable, because everyone is.”
On Saturday, the Royals announced that catcher Cam Gallagher tested positive for COVID-19.
“To say this caught me by surprise would be an understatement,” Gallagher said in another statement released by the team.
The only thing is, it’s not a surprise. Gallagher, who played in an intrasquad game on Friday, just had two teammates test positive for the virus earlier in the week. And that was after another positive test on the Royals, as Salvador Perez was forced into quarantine with coronavirus last week.
Meanwhile, because Major League Baseball is going ahead with a plan to play its season in cities all over North America, instead of a single-bubble or two-hub setup like the NBA and NHL are using, players are just out and about in the world on grocery runs and the like.
“[He] was in a store shopping for food and was called a pansy,” Smith said of a teammate who was chided for wearing a mask. “It’s like little do they know. I went out briefly to just pick up some takeout food and I swear I got a dozen eyeballs on me looking at me like I’m the weird [one] walking in with a mask. Little do they know what is at stake for my life and for my livelihood. It’s just very immature or whatever you want to call it. But it’s just comical. I mean it. It’s going on all over the world. We’re seeing it firsthand here, so we’ve just got to stick within our realm and just do what we’ve got to do to stay responsible and everything should be fine.”
How? How should everything be fine? The Phillies got a guy back who had been in isolation for a month, and he’s still dealing with shortness of breath. The Royals had one of the best players in franchise history test positive on the Fourth of July, then another pair of players, and then a guy who played in an intrasquad game got the virus, too.
The Houston Astros did not have a workout on Saturday because, as general manager James Click said in a statement, “we were alerted that a staff member was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization. Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled today’s workout.”
A real abundance of caution would mean canceling more than one day’s workout. This isn’t an abundance of caution. This is eyewash.
Chapman is the most prominent player to date to catch COVID-19. But his situation is no different in what it means than Perez’s, or Keller’s, or O’Hearn’s, or Gallagher’s, or anyone else’s in the game. It’s less than two weeks until opening day, and a disease is running rampant in the game for which the CDC recommends “14 days of quarantine after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness if infected.”
Baseball has been exposed. Who knows how many more players will test positive in the coming days, and who they might spread it to while they’re waiting for their test results to come back? It’s time to shut it down.