Jul 27, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good Monday afternoon. Today's PM, edited by Shane Savitsky, is 450 words — a 2-minute read.

  • 🔒 Situational awareness: Target will join Walmart and close its stores on Thanksgiving as it rethinks how to handle Black Friday crowds. (AP)
1 big thing: Baseball's virus reckoning affects everything

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In less than four days, the 2020 MLB season is seriously at risk after at least 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus, canceling games in Miami and Philadelphia and kicking off an emergency league meeting.

  • Marlins players, aware of the team outbreak, decided via group text to play yesterday against the Phillies, circumventing a 113-page safety manual issued by the league before the season started, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • "We knew that this would happen at some point. ... That was never our thought that we weren’t going to play," said Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas.

The league moved forward without the sequestered "bubble" concept embraced by other sports leagues that have restarted or are on the verge of doing so, instead allowing teams to crisscross the country.

  • The NBA and MLS, both bubbled in Florida, turned up zero cases in their latest round of tests, Axios Sports editor Kendall Baker notes.

Why it matters: It's a bad sign for baseball moving forward. It's a bad sign for football, as both the NFL and college football aren't planning bubbles. But most importantly, it's a bad sign for just about everything.

  • We can't reasonably expect underfunded public schools to cope as they face reopening with conflicting guidance when a corporation with almost unlimited wealth is overwhelmed in a matter of days.
  • It's hard to imagine how a normal office is supposed to reopen when MLB players — subject to much more stringent oversight than most workers — can seemingly ignore their league's safety policies.

The bottom line: We're about to see the MLB's issues play out en masse in the real world as colleges reopen and welcome back students from around the world next month.

  • If you can't trust professional sports players to make smart decisions to keep their league running during a pandemic, how do you expect students freed from months of home quarantine to fare?
2. Pics du jour

Above, the hearse carrying the late Rep. John Lewis crosses Black Lives Matter Plaza in downtown D.C.

  • 🪑↔️🪑 Our new reality ... The overhead view of the Capitol Rotunda ahead of the casket arrivals of former President George H.W. Bush (December 2018) and Lewis (h/t C-SPAN's Jeremy Art):
Screenshot via C-SPAN
Screenshot via C-SPAN

Go deeper: More pictures and highlights from the ceremony

3. Catch up quick
  1. Google will keep its 200,000 workers and contractors at home until at least July 2021. The big picture.
  2. Senate Republicans will propose cutting federal weekly unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 as part of their stimulus proposal. Details.
  3. President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien tested positive for the coronavirus. Go deeper.
  4. An Army National Guard commander is set to testify that June's actions against protesters in Lafayette Square were "unnecessary" and "unprovoked." What he'll say.
4. 1 fun thing

Graphic via The New York Times

Gal Beckerman, the New York Times' "celebrity bookshelf detective," is back, using Zoom interviews to scope out what Hollywood stars are reading.

On Tom Hanks' list ...

  1. "The Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson."
  2. "St. Marks Is Dead," by Ada Calhoun.
  3. "The History of Manned Spaceflight," by David Baker.

See what's on the shelves of Regina King, Yo-Yo Ma and Charlamagne tha God.

Mike Allen