From the Press Box: ‘In the interest of fair competition’ may not be possible this year


Baseball fans had one of the more serious questions heading into COVID-19 sports answered earlier this week: what happens when multiple players test positive?

The Miami Marlins had at least 13 players and staff test positive for COVID-19 on Monday, resulting in the postponement of their home games on Monday and Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles. This also resulted in the postponement of New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

Later in the week, the Washington Nationals players voted against traveling to Florida for their series against the Marlins, effectively suspending the Marlins’ season until tentatively Aug. 4 (unless they can play a make-up game on Aug. 3).

That being said, the Nationals are losing a weekend slate of games and the Phillies lost four games against the Yankees, and the Yankees and Orioles are now playing each other.

So we have a situation, at least for now (Thursday), the Marlins have three games but the strongest win percentage at .667 in their division with the Braves, Mets, Phillies and Nationals.

Earlier this summer, Phillies manager Joe Girardi said it is possible the league could go off winning percentage.

In a 60-game season, one team having a handful less games may not be a terrible thing. But let’s transfer this to the NFL.

If an outbreak happens and teams lose games, this could be troublesome.

Hypothetically, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles both finish with a win percentage of 71 percent at 10-4. 

The Cowboys didn’t play games against the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals (games they would be the presumed favorites). 

The Eagles, didn’t play games against the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens (games they may be underdogs).

On paper, the Cowboys may have finished 12-4 and the Eagles would’ve finished 10-6. But because of the virus affecting either their teams or the teams from the demonstration, they had a “level” playing field.

Some may cry “what about the fairness of competition?”

The NFL could look at strength of schedule at the end of the season. They could also look at using some of the built in make-up time in the scheduled (bye week in the Super Bowl, some teams sharing byes and others). 

But, this year may be the year that “fairness” goes out the window and the old adage, “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas” reigns supreme when looking at the playoffs for all sports. 

It’s all about “Any given Sunday.” 

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.

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