Zach Plesac, the stupidest canary in baseball’s coal mine

Illustration: Getty Images

It’s no surprise that baseball players can have their head in the sand a lot of the time. The baseball season itself is so disorienting that by July, most of them don’t know what day it is, or what city they’re in, and can only focus on playing that day’s game, and then the next day happens and they can only think about that day’s game.

Still, after baseball spent months figuring out the incredibly detailed processes and protocols to have a season, you’d think MLB players would have been aware that it was pretty important. Not something to be sloughed off. Or, at least, wait more than a week before ignoring them to go out to yuppie bars in downtown Chicago. Like, at least give yourself the out of frustration of being pent up inside a hotel.

Zach Plesac couldn’t manage that. Neither could the St. Louis Cardinals. It took them each just slightly more than a week. Plesac couldn’t resist the lure of the Chicago nightlife, which in August wasn’t really much of anything, thanks to the city’s measures to counteract the pandemic. What exactly he was chasing is a mystery, unless a patio was that important to him.

It got him sent home from the team, and his teammate Mike Clevinger traded to San Diego.

And it was only a couple weeks. The protocols were still fresh. It should have been simple. And yet, to a lot of baseball players, it can never be simple enough.

And you can kind of see how baseball players keep getting clocked in CBA negotiations. They traded all their avenues to getting paid more and paid earlier in their careers for suites on the road. They never seem to see beyond their own world. Baseball is only dressed up as a team sport, and through instances like this, you can see how much of a costume that is.

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