Cubs 'feel like it's safe' taking field vs. Reds
While two major-league games were canceled Monday due to an outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests by the Miami Marlins, the Cubs and Reds planned to play on, weather permitting.
There was reason for concern when Reds outfielder Matt Davidson tested positive for the coronavirus, then Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel stayed home Sunday because they weren't feeling well. But it paled in comparison to the Marlins' reported 13 positive tests among players and coaches.
"I think there's been an explanation of what's gone on over there and the details, kind of the behind-the-scenes look," Cubs manager David Ross told reporters before Monday's game via Zoom call. "Then we made a determination that we feel like it's safe to step on the field with them."
Cubs player representative Ian Happ also spoke before the game. He said he feels good about what the Cubs have done to protect themselves, but the first road game of the season brought a new set of concerns.
The Cubs flew into town Monday morning; in a usual season they would have arrived Sunday night. But Ross and Happ reported no concerns at the team hotel or stadium.
"Safety precautions were great," Happ said. "The hotel did a great job. Great American Ballpark, the staff here was awesome. It was super easy. We had continuous buses rolling around. So I think for us, from a travel standpoint, super smooth. We know there's a lot of hours going into this, a lot of thought, and it hasn't been overlooked by the players."
Happ said the players have discussed different ideas about added precautions, such as wearing masks on the basepaths, or Anthony Rizzo wearing one when he's playing first base and often holding opposing runners on.
"We've been in constant communication with the Reds and how their testing is coming back," Happ said. "I think that's going to be something that you'll see, or maybe will happen but maybe you won't see, is the communication between the two clubs that are either playing each other or going to play each other will probably get better as the result of this.
"I know that our team and the Reds really had great communication, just coming into the series, making sure that we know exactly where all their tests are and they know where ours are so we can feel comfortable getting on the field together."
The Cubs are one of the only teams that has not had a positive coronavirus test among players since testing began in early July. Some of that certainly can be chalked up to diligence, but there's always going to be luck involved.
"I think the most important part of these protocols that maybe isn't being talked about enough is the wearing a mask, the distancing, treating every single person you come into contact with -- even your teammates you know are negative -- treating everyone like they're positive," Happ said. "I think that's the best way for us to make sure that there isn't a spread."
Ross wants understanding:
While the outbreak among the Marlins created plenty of concern, but Cubs manager David Ross wanted to remind everyone how much the participants are trying to make the pandemic baseball season work.
"If I had to say one thing that's bothered me about today is comments from folks that aren't in this environment and how hard this is," he said. "It's extremely difficult. To tell everybody to not touch and not celebrate and stay six feet apart and all the things -- we're trying to do the best we can in the emotions of our game.
"Nobody's taking anything for granted. We're trying to compete at the highest level, and we're doing something that a lot of people haven't been able to do. Yeah, it's difficult and we're trying to follow those protocols as much as we possibly can, but we're not perfect and we're not robots."
Status quo for Reds:
When Reds manager David Bell spoke to reporters Monday afternoon, he did not have an update on the status of Mike Moustakas or Nick Senzel, who were scratched from Sunday's game against Detroit after feeling ill. Moustakas was placed on the injured list and won't be available to play until getting two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
"I think everyone knew there was risk coming into it," Bell said. "When people get sick, I think it's important to remember it's no one's fault. And I know that here. We're doing everything we can."
Bell was asked if it's stressful awaiting results of his team's coronavirus tests.
"On some days when I wake up, I turn right to my email with a lot of anxiety waiting to see that answer," he said.
Hendricks grabs honor:
Ian Happ was reigning NL player of the week for a long time, since he won the award in the final week of last season. His run finally ended when Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks was named the initial NL player of the week for 2020.
"Forty-three weeks, what a run," Happ said. "But super-happy to keep it in the family. I think if we can do that the whole year, just keep passing that around in the clubhouse, the Cubs are going to be all right."