2 Cleveland Indians, Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger, Break MLB Protocol By Sneaking Out of Hotel and Risking Coronavirus Outbreak
Saturday night, when the Cleveland Indians were in Chicago, 2 of their players were caught outside the team hotel, breaking MLB protocols
At first, only pitcher Zach Plesac was discovered. He was seen having dinner with friends on Saturday night after the Indians beat the White Sox. After the COVID-19 issues that both the Marlins and the Cardinals have faced this season, this is a very serious offense. Sunday, the Indians had a team meeting, and Plesac apologized. He was then sent back to Cleveland in a rental car. Plesac also issued an official statement, apologizing for his misstep:
“I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people,” he said. “I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible, and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.”
The irony is that just one month earlier, on July 3rd, Plesac talked about the “privilege” of playing baseball this year, and how staying away from “bars and crowded places” was “common sense.” But as the days went on, the Indians realized that Plesac was not the only one guilty of going out.
Monday, the day after the Cleveland Indians got home from Chicago, they realized that Plesac was not alone in his illicit activities Saturday night. Fellow pitcher, Mike Clevinger, also went out for the night, and worse, he flew home with the rest of the team. Both Plesac and Clevinger will need to quarantine for 72 hours and receive two negative COVID-19 tests before they can re-enter the team, but that may be the least of their worries.
Before the season started, the Indians players decided that they would handle any issues surrounding the coronavirus themselves, without the interference of coaches or management. In July, Clevinger noted the importance of this system, as “having that trust in your teammates is a big thing. It’s a big thing on the field. If you feel your teammate doesn’t trust you off the field, how are you going to feel like he trusts you when you get between the lines?”
The Indians have clearly lost trust in both Plesac and Clevinger, but the latter more than the former. During the team meeting on Sunday, Clevinger argued for benevolence and stood up for Plesac. It is now obvious why.
Since the weekend, the Indians have decided to put the two pitchers on the Restricted List, a list of players who are not allowed to play due to off the field reasons, however will still receive pay. It is not yet clear how long the pitchers will stay on that list. Team President Chris Antonetti said the punishment issued by the players is “not ideal, but [they] felt it was the right thing to do.”
The Indians are disappointed in both Plesac and Clevinger, who have thrown productively for them so far this season, and they will have to work hard to earn their trust back.
Avi Paulson is a student at the College Preparatory School. He lives in the Bay Area, and is an avid viewer of baseball. He plays various sports, and is a writer for At the Buzzer.