In a world where sports were shut down in response to a deadly pathogen that can be transmitted in the air, you’d think MLB would be more mindful about what its players are breathing.
But that hasn’t been the case in Seattle this week.
The Mariners and A’s played a doubleheader on Monday amid a deep haze of smoke from the wildfires affecting California, Oregon and Washington. And despite an Air Quality Index of 240, MLB did not move to postpone the games. An AQI between 200 and 300 is deemed “very unhealthy” and could cause health issues to anyone with prolonged exposure and physical exertion … like, you know, 14 innings of baseball.
With MLB’s decision to proceed with the game, A’s players were out there in the field with actual N95 masks, and the haze was visible on the broadcast.
This is the same league that will stop play due to rain, but it will seemingly ignore an AQI level that poses legitimate health concerns to the players. Jesus Luzardo was especially upset that they had to play in those conditions. He said that he was gasping for air.
The Mariners are still at home for Tuesday’s game against the Giants, and AirNow’s AQI reading for Seattle remains at a “very unhealthy” 269. The NFL has a rule that prohibits games from taking place through AQI levels above 200, but MLB does not have any set guideline.
That needs to change because right now, it is an unwritten baseball rule worth getting upset about.