Nats’ Ross, Zimmerman to sit out
“I realize — we all realize — how fortunate we are to have a job right now,” one Rangers employee said to ESPN. “We were not furloughed. We were not fired altogether like some staffers at other clubs. We’re able to continue to keep our families fed.”
If Rangers workers can know that quitting their job to protect their health would expose them to unemployment rates rising at COVID-speed, you can guarantee their employer knows they’re offering more of a “Sophie’s Choice” than a real one.
“The health and safety of our employees are a top priority, and the Rangers will continue to diligently enforce the pandemic protocols that are in place for front-office employees at Globe Life Field,” the Rangers said in a statement, declining to answer the Daily News’ questions about what they would need to pull the plug. The state included mandatory facemask-wearing, temperature checks, and all sorts of things to keep Globe Life Field open for business, no matter the cost.
This is where MLB should have intervened. Tell the Rangers that they’re needlessly sending workers in to do a nonessential task with minimal benefit. The risk incurred entirely by their staff isn’t worth the reward given entirely to the ownership. This insistence on underestimating the threat of coronavirus— again, being nice — could kill someone, either in your office or the community that may have paid more than $1.6 billion in taxes for your stadium — three times more than the Rangers’ estimate of public costs.
So call it off.
But the league won’t. Because intervening on the Rangers is a double standard, one that would immediately concede the entire basis for baseball in 2020 as a dangerous, foolish and ultimately selfish endeavor that carries a selfanointed air of importance, with safety risks passed on to everyone but the people who stand to profit the most.
As baseball players and coaches weigh the personal risk of playing through a viral pandemic, some athletes around the league are announcing their exit.
Nationals teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross were among the first players to publicly reveal they weren’t going to play through the pandemic, opting out of the 2020 season, which was announced in a statement via the team’s Twitter account.
“Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field,” said the team in a statement.
Zimmerman and Ross follow Diamondbacks starter Mike Leake, who was the first to reveal he was opting out of 2020.
“After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances — three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at high risk — I have decided not to participate in the 2020 season,” said Zimmerman.
The two-time All-Star is the longest-tenured National ever, playing every season in the team’s 15-year history.
“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year. Of course, I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the unusual season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I appreciate the organization’s understanding and support.”
Rangers have a nice, new ballpark in Globe Life Field, but the cost to get everything up and running is getting high, especially for workers. AP