Saturday, September 19, 2020

AP Report of Umpire COVID Appears to be False Positive

On Wednesday, an AP report circulated by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and others stated an umpire tested positive for coronavirus, leading to crew shuffling in Florida. Close Call Sports now concludes this test result was likely a false positive for COVID-19. 

When the AP story broke Wednesday, several UEFL commenters surmised the affected crew belonged to chief Joe West, who, alongside Hunter Wendelstedt, sat out the midweek Red Sox-Marlins series in Miami. For sudden-interim crew chief Fletcher, it was as simple as traveling from Tampa Bay, leaving a three-person crew of Dan Iassogna, Tripp Gibson, and Ben May, until taxi squad umpire Clint Vondrak arrived mid-game on Wednesday to complete the crew.

Yet with MLB's health and safety protocols in effect—combined with Joe West's return to work the first plate of a doubleheader on Friday and contract tracing which would very likely have affected the entire crew—it would seem that with West's crew in Miami, Paul Nauert's crew in Boston, and Iassogna making the trip with the Rays up to Baltimore, we more likely than not have a false positive test situation.

Otherwise, it would appear on its face entirely negligent to allow COVID-exposed close contacts out on the field—thus, the presumption of a false positive.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Umpire's False Positive Test Shakes Up MLB Crews in Florida (CCS)


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