Dave Martinez fearful of Nats' trip to Miami: 'I'm scared. I really am.'

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By 106.7 The Fan

Nationals skipper Dave Martinez was visibly shaken when discussing the possibility of traveling to Miami next weekend.

The Nats have a three-game series set to begin Friday against the Marlins, who just had 12 players and two coaches test positive for COVID-19 over the course of their weekend series in Philadelphia. Major League Baseball has responded to the outbreak by calling off Miami's home opener Monday night game against Baltimore.

Instead, the Marlins are staying back in Philly, in quarantine.

The Yankees and Phillies were scheduled to begin a home-and-home series in Philadelphia, where Miami's infected players first tested positive. Monday's game has been canceled, as the Yankees would have to use the same visiting clubhouse just occupied by the Marlins.

Enter Martinez, who had a heart condition surface last September and was noticeably concerned on Monday about the environment his club could be thrust into.

Dave Martinez is pretty emotional right now. He says the players are his family, and he's already lost a lot of sleep this month. When asked about whether he has doubts about going to MIA this weekend: "Hopefully they make the right decision. That's all I'm going to say."

— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 27, 2020

Dave Martinez was just asked about being at-risk during this, having had heart issues last September: "I'll be honest with you, I'm scared. I really am."

— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 27, 2020

Repeating myself here, but Dave Martinez's Zoom presser just now was as emotional as I've seen someone during this. When asked why, he says the players have families, they're concerned about their health, etc. He added that, despite all, "We're doing the best we can."

— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 27, 2020

Dave Martinez says that no other Nationals have opted out of playing this season. But he did say he'd thought about it today, that he may lose some other guys over health concerns.

— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 27, 2020

WATCH - "I'm going to be honest with you, I'm scared."Powerful words today from @Nationals manager Davey Martinez.The Marlins situation is a major eye opener to the rest of the teams.More tonight on @ABC7News.@KgriggsPhoto @ProducerSass pic.twitter.com/WyDzq5FJx8

— Scott Abraham (@ScottABC7) July 27, 2020

MLB should be very cautious about how it responds. After already moving mountains to make this jump-started 60-game season work, like having the Blue Jays play out their home schedule in Buffalo, forcing a club to travel to a known COVID hot spot like Miami could be viewed as extremely callous.

The smart move would be to move the game to Washington, just as the league did with the second leg of Toronto's home-and-home series with the Nationals. While all four games will be played at Nationals Park, Washington will only be the "home" team in Monday and Tuesday's games. They'll bat first in their home park on Wednesday and Thursday.

The growing reality as the 2020 MLB season continues to unfold is that flexibility will be needed in order to properly respond to these outbreaks. The league can't be so committed to uniformity, for instance, that it prioritizes adhering to its schedule over the safety of its players and staff.

Buster Olney proposed the novel approach of MLB basing its standings around winning percentage, rather than wins and losses, as the league did after the 1981 strike.

If MLB continues to try to move forward with games -- and that is the expectation with a lot of teams -- they shouldn't worry about the 'integrity' of a 60-game schedule. If some teams play 55 games, others 59 or 60, just go by winning percentage. This happened after 1981 strike.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 27, 2020

Nothing about this season is normal, so why paint yourself into the corner of forcing it when there are safer alternatives?