By Mike Holzheimer
It never seems to end.
The Cleveland Indians just completed a very successful weekend series in Chicago winning two of the three games scheduled against the White Sox.
It would have been nice to read only positive accounts from those games with newspaper copy and television sports reports sticking to just the baseball facts-but sadly, such was not the case.
Instead, we read breaking news that two of the Tribe’s starting pitchers violated Major League Baseball and Indians team protocol regarding COVID-19 precautions.
Following Zach Plesac’s impressvie performance on Saturday afternoon resulting in a Cleveland, 7-1 victory, word swept quickly through regular media and social media outlets that Plesac violated the pandemic requirements and left the team hotel to go out that evening.
Roughly 24 hours later, it was revealed that Mike Clevinger joined Plesac in leaving what is supposed to be a confined area. Clevinger was scheduled to start tonight’s game against the Chicago Cubs from Progressive Field-obviously, that won’t be happening.
Adam Plutko will be on the mound taking Clevinger’s spot. Both Plesac and Clevinger will be quarantined for 72 hours and tested routinely for COVID-19.
Many comments have flooded the Twitter and Facebook accounts from Tribe fans weighing in on this recent incident. I must say that I find those who sweep this act under the rug claiming that it’s no big deal because people make mistakes, both disturbing and idiotic. One commented “it’s so nice to read all of these perfect human beings writing in. I guess none of you ever made a mistake in your life.” Really?
Let’s be clear. There are mistakes and then there are very poor decisions-and yes, there is a difference.
The actions of Plesac and Clevinger ARE NOT mistakes.
A mistake is not knowing something is in place, and you innocently go about your business. For example, if I take a particular road to get to my traveling destination and see it is blocked off at some point without my knowing about it ahead of time, that is a mistake. A mistake is an addition or subtraction error in my checkbook register that shows I either have more or less money that I believed was in my account.
Plesac and Clevinger clearly did not make an innocent mistake. Is anyone going to suggest they did not know the rules and the COVID-19 precautions all of MLB has put in place since the shortened-season began a few weeks ago? They clearly knew but just decided to do what they wanted to do and ignore the safety measures established.That is NOT a mistake; it is a selfish act that can potentially hurt themselves and their team professionally and personally.
Personally, because it wasn’t known to Indians staff members that Clevinger left the hotel, yet he got on the plane Sunday and flew back to Cleveland with his team. One of those teammates could have been Carlos Carrasco, the same Carrasco who battled leukemia and whose immune system is already at risk. One can certainly not say for sure whether or not Carrasco’s health is now in jeopardy if he was on that same flight home, but he should have never been put in that position in the first place-none of those players/staff members who were passengers on that flight should have been compromised like that.
Plesac was told to go home from Chicago Sunday by way of a rental car so there was no chance of infecting anyone.
Professionally, this “decision” made by these two players isn’t going to help matters as far as the team’s place in the standings moving forward.
A 60-game schedule doesn’t really allow for too many slumps or incidents that deal with the violating of rules that leads to key players out of the lineup. Every player must understand what is expected of them during these difficult times. To be honest, with more players throughout the league testing positive for the virus, one would think players would be more careful and relieved that they are still playing the game.
Clevinger has yet to be officially heard from regarding his hotel departure, while it was reported that Plesac said he plans to do everything he can to win back the trust of his teammates. I’m sure Clevinger feels the same way but such trust, once violated, can be a difficult thing to restore.
But more importantly, one can only hope and pray that more players won’t become another grave statistic in the battle against this virus. The actions of Plesac and Clevinger should be a reminder and a valuable lesson for everyone to learn that the actions of just a few, can affect so many.
With regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus, selfish acts, not mistakes, can have serious consequences with tragic results. And to ignore that would definitely be a mistake.
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