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    Published on: August 5, 2020

    by Michael Sansolo

    It’s hardly news that necessity begets invention and innovation. But it is somewhat newsy when that necessity provides us a lesson in how to deal with a number of issues including how to best engage with the younger generations now so critical to the workforce.

    The Israeli army is the source of this innovation. Israel, as you no doubt know, lives in a complex geopolitical space that requires the country to have a well-armed and innovative military. Like many countries, Israel relies on young men and women to staff that army.

    The Washington Post recently reported on a new Israeli tank, the Carmel, that allows the soldiers inside to basically operate as if they are in a video game right down to the video game style controllers used to drive the vehicle.  As the Israeli army brass explains, the innovative style fits with skill sets that young recruits have after years of playing games like Fortnite. That in turn, vastly reduces training time.

    As the Post article explains, this type of technology has been creeping into the military for a while now, including in how various countries teach pilots to fly drones. I found it somewhat encouraging that the Israeli brass recognized that video games can dehumanize the player to the mayhem they are causing, so they have focused on how to ensure the Carmel’s users understand they aren’t in a game and the people they may shoot at are real.

    But I also found this article highly instructive as to how all forms of business are going to have to incorporate technology to best utilize the skills of younger workers today and certainly tomorrow. It starts with recognizing that a young person will be incredibly put off by a workplace that uses technology that is significantly slower or less sophisticated than what they’ve had since 9th grade, or earlier.

    There are unquestionably countless skills that young recruits in any company need to learn from more experienced hands. That institutional knowledge is essential to making any company run properly and certainly in building and maintaining relationships throughout the supply chain and with customers.

    However, we need also recognize that even today’s greenest recruits might simply know about things - apps, hardware or whatever - that could easily improve existing operational issues or consumer outreach through emerging social media sites and more. In the case of the Israeli tank we also see how artificial intelligence seems far more accessible to gamers than anyone might expect.

    As one Israeli battalion commander said of his new recruits, “I don’t want to say it took them four minutes (to master the tank), but maximum it took them four hours. They are far more willing to experiment, they are much less afraid of technology … it comes to them naturally. It’s not exactly like playing ‘Fortnite,’ but something like that, and amazingly they bring their skills to operational effectiveness in no time. I’ll tell you the truth, I didn’t think it could be reached so quickly.”

    The Israeli tank might be a model on how to recruit younger folks for essential jobs that seem low tech and also seem less attractive. We have to wonder if the Carmel tank model - that is, creating a gaming environment for a non-gaming task - might help somehow with making long-haul trucking or distribution center jobs more attractive to a new generation.

    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at

    His book, “THE BIG PICTURE:  Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here

    And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    "Supposable" is defined as "capable of being conceived or imagined."  (KC knows this because someone emailed him yesterday asking him if "supposable" actually was a word, apparently under the impression that his middle names are "Merriam Webster.")  But it was a timely inquiry, because KC was thinking about businesses changing the fundamentals of their models, and realizing that these days, almost everything is supposable.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    Variety reports that actress/producer Amy Adams and writer/director Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) are planning a new project for Netflix that will focus on a class action lawsuit against Walmart.

    According to the story, "Titled 'Kings of America,' the series is based on real events and centers on the stories of three women whose lives were inextricably intertwined with the world’s largest company: a Walmart heiress, a maverick executive, and a longtime Walmart saleswoman and preacher who dared to fight against the retail giant in the biggest class action lawsuit in US history."

    Adams reportedly will play one of the three women, though it has not been announced which one.

    No production or release dates have been announced;  it is almost certain that these will be in flux depending on how the pandemic affects such projects.

    KC's View:

    It always has been a little surprising to me that Walmart hasn't before been the subject of a movie or TV series that looks under the hood of its operations.  I'm already looking forward to this, and it could be years away from being on Netflix.

    I know this.  If Adam McKay can explain Walmart's business model with the same cut-to-the-chase style that was employed in The Big Short, when he used Jenga to explain credit default swaps, this is going to be a fun movie.

    I can see it now.  Christian Bale as Sam Walton.  Steve Carell as David Glass.  Ryan Gosling as Lee Scott.  Tracy Letts as Mike Duke.  John C. Reilly as Tom Coughlin.  And Will Ferrell as Doug McMillon.

    (If you have alternative suggestions, the MNB casting office is open for business…)

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    Bloomberg has a story about how Amazon's first Prime Day promotional event to be held since the beginning of the pandemic will require some changes in both attitude and procedure.  Scheduled for India later this week, the promotion will be one way for Amazon to learn what works and what doesn't during the pandemic, though it has not been formally set up that way.

    The US version of Prime Day originally was slated for July, but has been put off until later this year on a still-to-be-announced date.

    According to the story, "Prime Day will have the customary deep discounts, hundreds of exclusive products, new launches and cashback offers. But in a profound departure from the past, the global retailer will have a virtual operations room instead of a real one, with thousands of employees coordinating the sale from their homes, and stringent hygiene protocols for its armies of packers, sorters and deliverymen … The online retailer said it has made over a hundred such process changes in its buildings, stipulating new rules on face coverings and daily temperature checks. Hand cleaning is mandated no less than eight times during a shift. Even the slightest sign of elevated temperature requires a worker to remain at home for three days. When a delivery person arrives at a customer’s door, he is required to ring the door bell and then step several feet back."

    The story goes on:  "This year’s Amazon event will be devoid of the usual Bollywood dancing and the endless supply of Indian street foods, foot massages and costume parties. Instead, hundreds of employees will plan and coordinate the sale from home, their only respite virtual mood-boosters like standup comedy and selfie competitions."

    Amazon's Prime Day in India happens as the company is facing an intense competitive landscape:  "That Amazon is holding its 48-hour sale despite the pandemic underscores the intense competition in the country’s online retail sector. The Seattle-based retailer is fighting giant rival Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart as well as the powerful Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., whose Jio Platforms launched its grocery delivery service in 200 cities and is fast expanding into categories like electronics and apparel.  Flipkart has announced its own Big Savings Day, clashing with its rival’s dates. The sales events have overlapped for years, vying for the attention of both shoppers and sellers listing on their platforms."

    KC's View:

    It will be very interesting to see how Prime Day plays out in the US this year, especially because it seems almost certain to dovetail with the end-of-year holiday shopping season … and will take place during a pandemic and a recession.  Lots of outside influences that could impact the degree to which people are willing to spend money, though I have little doubt that Amazon will figure out how to capitalize on the moment.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic and how businesses and various business sectors are trying to recover from it, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  In the United States, we now have had more than 160,000 deaths attributable to the Covid-19 coronavirus, and we are rapidly approaching the five million mark in terms of confirmed cases.  The exact numbers:  4,918,789 cases, 160,326 deaths, and 2,482,899 reported recoveries.

    Globally, it works out to 18,727,238 confirmed coronavirus cases, 704,791 fatalities, and 11,940,707 reported recoveries.

    •  From the Associated Press:

    "Figures showing California has slowed the rate of coronavirus infections may be in doubt because a technical problem has delayed reporting of test results, the state’s top health official said.

    "For days, California hasn’t received full counts on the number of tests conducted nor the number that come back positive for COVID-19, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday.

    "He blamed an unspecified technical problem affecting the state’s database that provides test results to local health departments. Ghaly said it’s unclear when the issue would be fixed, adding that the state is relaying information manually to county health officials.

    "The announcement came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom gave his most optimistic report on the state’s virus efforts since a second surge of cases in early June."

    •  Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced yesterday that he is adding Rhode Island to the list of states from which people have to quarantine for 14 days when arriving in the Nutmeg State or be subject to fines.

    At the same time, Lamont took Delaware and Washington, DC, off the list.

    Rhode Island now is on a quarantine list with 33 states and Puerto Rico.  The Connecticut Post reports that "the announcement comes as the neighboring state of a little over 1 million people has seen a slight bump in COVID-19 cases since mid-July, according to data published by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

    "Hospitalizations in the state have also slowly risen during the same time period."

    The story also notes that "the announcement comes several weeks after Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management asked Connecticut and Massachusetts visitors to stay away from the state’s beaches amid overcrowding.

    "Rhode Island drew criticism from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the American Civil Liberties Union early on in the pandemic after state troopers began pulling over New York motorists and questioning them on where they intended to stay."

    •  The New York Times reports this morning that the governors of six states - Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia - are banding together "to reduce the turnaround time for coronavirus test results to minutes from days."

    The governors - three Republicans and three Democrats - "agreed to work with the Rockefeller Foundation and two U.S. manufacturers of rapid tests to buy 3 million tests."

    The agreement is designed to address a specific problem with the current state of testing in the US:  "The United States is testing about 755,000 people a day, up from about 640,000 per day a month ago, and far more than in April and May, according to the Covid Tracking Project. But numbers alone do not tell the whole story. With testing chemicals in short supply, and an increase in cases nationwide leading to skyrocketing demands, many people still have to wait many days for results, effectively rendering those tests useless.

    "Most who are tested for the virus do not receive results within the 24 to 48 hours recommended by public health experts to effectively stall the virus’s spread and quickly conduct contact tracing, according to a new national survey by researchers from Harvard University, Northeastern University, Northwestern University and Rutgers University."

    •  National Public Radio (NPR) reports on a new NPR/Ipsos poll showing that "more than three-quarters of respondents support enacting state laws to require mask wearing in public at all times. And nearly 60% said they would support a nationwide order making it mandatory to shelter at home for two weeks … Other measures that enjoy broad backing include government funding to expand testing for the coronavirus and make it free of charge, making any future vaccine available to all Americans, and a push to produce more personal protective equipment."

    •  From the Washington Post:

    "The cost of groceries has been rising at the fastest pace in decades since the coronavirus pandemic seized the U.S. economy, leading to sticker shock for basic staples such as beef and eggs and forcing struggling households to rethink how to put enough food on the table.

    "Long-standing supply chains for everyday grocery items have been upended as the pandemic sickened scores of workers, forced factory closures and punctured the carefully calibrated networks that brought food from farms to store shelves."

    Generally speaking, the story says, inflation "has not been a pressing concern since the recession touched down in February. Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell said consumer prices have been kept in check due to weak demand, especially in sectors such as travel and hospitality that have been most affected by the pandemic. But food prices are the exception."

    •  Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC) announced yesterday that it "is extending its discount programs through Sept. 8, 2020 for senior citizens and critical and emergency service providers in all four of its banners – Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, Spring Market and FRESH by Brookshire’s."

    The program offers a five percent discount to anyone who qualifies.

    “BGC is committed to doing our part to lessen the impact and spread of COVID-19,” said Brad Brookshire, the company's chairman-CEO.  “As long as this pandemic continues to affect our customers and neighbors, BGC is here for them and implementing precautions and practices to help keep everyone safe. We will continue to give back to our customers and communities while making safety our top priority in our stores.”

    •  Travel & Leisure reports that "as flights increase, Southwest Airlines is reducing its COVID-focused cleaning protocol.  Effective this month, the airline is now only disinfecting high-touch areas like lavatories and tray tables between flights. Armrests and seat belts will not be disinfected between flights."

    “Since flight schedules have increased, other areas of the aircraft will be disinfected during our overnight cleaning process, when Southwest Teams spend six to seven hours per aircraft cleaning all interior surfaces,” a Southwest spokesperson told T+L. “Additionally, our electrostatic spraying process applies a disinfectant and spray that forms an anti-microbial coating that kills viruses on contact for 30 days.”

    Passengers can request disinfectant wipes when boarding the plane so they can clean their own seats, seatbelts and armrests, the story says.

    Hard to imagine that it takes so much more time to clean armrests if crews already are lowering the tray tables to clean those.  Unfortunately, this is just one more reason not to get on a plane anytime soon…

    •  From CBS Sports:

    "The number of COVID-19 cases among Rutgers football players is up to 28, a figure that does not count 'multiple' staff members who have tested positive," an outbreak that apparently has the Big Ten reconsidering plans for college football this fall.

    The story notes that " Big Ten football programs continue grappling with the effects of the virus. Michigan State and Ohio State each paused workouts last month due to COVID-19 outbreaks, while Northwestern recently paused team activities after a player tested positive for the virus. Rutgers players are scheduled to remain in isolation through Saturday."

    •  US Open defending champion Rafael Nadal said yesterday that he will not play in the annual tournament this year because of concerns about the pandemic.

    In a tweet Nadal wrote, "After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it."

    NPR reports that had he played in the US Open this year, Nadal "would have attempted to tie Roger Federer for most Grand Slam titles — 20.

    "Nadal is the second player to pull out of the tournament in recent days. Ashleigh Barty, the world's No. 1 women's singles player, announced last week that because of the pandemic, she would not compete in the tournament, which starts Aug. 31.

    "As cases of the coronavirus continue to surge, U.S. sport franchises have had to assess how to safely allow players to compete in an industry that typically relies on throngs of cheering fans and close interactions between players."

    •  The Rockettes, for the first time in 87 years, have cancelled their annual "Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall in New York because of “uncertainty associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    The New York Times writes that "more than 75 million people have seen the dancers perform since the Christmas show began in 1933. During a typical busy season, each of the 80 Rockettes may perform up to four shows a day, with each one kicking up to 650 times."

    "Christmas Spectacular" tickets now are being sold for the 2021 holiday season.

    •  The Walt Disney Co. announced that Mulan - its much anticipated live-action version of the animated film that it was counting on to be a summer blockbuster before the pandemic closed virtually every movie theater in the country and pretty much cancelled the summer movie season - now will go directly to home streaming via Disney+.

    Mulan, the company said, will debut as a "premiere access" offering on Disney+ on September 4.  The rental fee will be $29.99;  unlike with the film version of Hamilton, which debuted on July 4 weekend, Mulan will not be included in the regular monthly Disney+ subscription price.

    Disney made the announcement at the same time as it revealed that it now has more than 60.5 million paying Disney+ subscribers.  While management was clear that this is a "one-off" rather than a reflection of a permanently changed business model, Disney CEO Bob Chapek also said that the company would closely examine the financial results for clues as to how to behave in the future.

    Disney needed good news - it has a Q3 in which revenue was down 40 percent because of the closure of its theme parks and the fact that movie theaters were shuttered.

    If all 60 million Disney+ subscribers were to pay to watch Mulan, it would generate $1.8 billion in revenue.  Not everybody will, but a lot are going to, and so it'll be interesting to see the degree to which this is a financial success.  I'm betting it will be a big one, both in terms of rental fees and new subscribers.

    This won't necessarily work for every film.  I suspect that the new Bond film and the Top Gun sequel, as well as the new Christopher Nolan film, will still be targeted as traditional cinema releases.  But if the pandemic doesn't subside and/or people still feel uncomfortable about going to theaters, some of these folks may start thinking differently.  in fact, I'd bet that there are folks at all three film companies that are starting to crunch the numbers, just in case.

    As I suggested in my FaceTime this morning, it is no longer about what is "supposed" to happen.  It is about what is "supposable" which is an entirely different thing.

    •  And as if we don't have enough problems…

    Axios reports that "the CDC on Tuesday warned of an expected uptick in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare polio-like illness that can disable and sometimes kill children … The agency cautioned parents to overcome any reluctance driven by the coronavirus pandemic and urgently bring their kids to the hospital should they suspect a case - especially if they exhibit a telltale symptom like limb weakness."

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    Interesting story in the Wall Street Journal (referred to in FaceTime this morning) about how the pandemic has prompted Levi Strauss to accelerate it efforts to take stronger control of its consumer business, reducing reliance on other retailers and selling more directly to shoppers.

    An excerpt:

    "The company is focused on boosting digital sales while using its growing network of Levi’s-branded physical stores - currently about 200 in the U.S. - to enhance the push. It has increased shipping of online orders through its own stores rather than big distribution centers, as a way of getting clothes to customers faster, and it is offering curbside pickup as well as in-store pickup. It also is relying more on data analysis to help it understand customers better, and using that information to tweak its product line."

    CFO Harmit Singh says that Levi is "shipping from the store to the customer’s home—30% of all our e-commerce business in the U.S. in May shipped from the store [rather than distribution centers]. That’s something we hadn’t done before. We are offering curbside pickup now in the U.S., from about 80% of our stores. We have accelerated buying online and picking up in stores, and we’ve got that rolled out in about 40 of our stores in the U.S. We also do contactless payments and same-day delivery, with Uber in the U.S. We’ve also launched a new virtual concierge program, which offers consumers the chance to have a one-on-one interaction with a store associate."

    Singh adds, " I do believe the digitization of the consumer experience will stick. However, I also think there is a reason for brands like ours to have bricks-and-mortar stores. Those stores are still a critical piece of the shopping experience. Even as consumers do more purchasing online, they still want the ability to interact face-to-face with a stylist, to see and try on clothing, or even to be first in line to pick up a piece from a new collaboration [with an artist or another brand] the day it hits."

    You can read the story here.

    KC's View:

    For every brand - retail or manufacturer - it makes sense to have the strongest possible connection to the shopper, and the degree to which consumers have changed their behavior during the past five months certainly gives smart companies the opportunity to move into any sort of informational void that may exist.  If that means changing certain fundamentals about how business always has been conducted … well, change is the currency of the moment.

    Levi has its own strange problem - for some reason, people working at home during the pandemic are finding jeans not to be their garment of choice.  Not comfortable enough, I gather … though when I started working at home 20 years ago, one of the attractions was being able to wear jeans.  

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    In the UK, the Evening Standard reports that Amazon is planning to bring its Amazon Go checkout-free concept to London, with 10 sites chosen and another 20 sites under negotiation.

    According to the story, "Amazon has been scouting for locations in capital for about two years, but now appears to have pounced amid a growing number of vacant high street shops fuelled by the economic fallout of coronavirus."

    Amazon is not commenting.

    KC's View:

    I make it a policy of being a tad skeptical of these stories until Amazon confirms them … only because there tends to be a lot of wishful thinking out there about what Amazon is going to do next.  I also think that there is a reason that these high street shops are vacant … Amazon would have to be persuaded that this is a temporary thing, and that now is a good time to make a deal.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  The New York Times reports that the European Union has launched an investigation into Google's acquisition of fitness tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion, with the expressed concern being that Google might used data acquired from all the Fitbits out there to target ads to users.

    “By increasing the data advantage of Google in the personalization of the ads it serves via its search engine and displays on other internet pages, it would be more difficult for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services,” the commission conducting the probe said in a statement.

    I always find myself mildly conflicted by cases like these.  On the one hand, I dislike the idea that Google could track me and then monetize my behavior if I used a Fitbit.  On the other hand, if I give Google/Fitbit permission to do so, am I not better served by a system that tailors ads to my interests?

    •  MediaPost reports that "Kroger is joining forces with YouTube stars The Try Guys for a content partnership to raise awareness for the grocery chain’s online delivery options and to promote Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation … The multiplatform content spans two Try Guys creative concepts. One is an integration into The Try Guys’ 'Date Night' series, while the second is a custom concept created specifically for Kroger. Both encourage the use of ingredients that can be found either at your local Kroger or your own pantry, emphasizing the foundation’s goal of using what’s on hand to eliminate as much waste as possible."

    •  CNBC reports that Home Depot "will open three distribution centers in the Atlanta area over the next 18 months" to keep up with consumers' e-commerce demands, "which have only been amplified since the pandemic."

    “We like to say that retail has changed more in the past four years than in our 40-year history,” says Stephanie Smith, senior vice president of supply chain. “Covid has even brought this more to light. Customers expect to shop whenever, wherever, however they want.”

    •  Eater London reports that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved Amazon's purchase of a 16 percent stake in restaurant delivery platform Deliveroo for the equivalent of $580 million (US).

    •  From Bloomberg:

    "The world’s largest online retailer Inc. has announced it will launch in Sweden via the website  … The move into the Nordic region’s biggest economy comes at a time when the U.S. retail giant is benefiting from an influx of consumers trying to avoid physical stores during the coronavirus pandemic."

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  From the Wall Street Journal:

    "An executive leading Walmart Inc.’s health-care ambitions is leaving the company, people familiar with the matter said, as the retailer navigates the operational complexity of the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Sean Slovenski, senior vice president and president of health and wellness for Walmart U.S., is leaving as soon as this week, one of the people familiar with the situation said … Mr. Slovenski joined Walmart two years ago, tasked with implementing an expansion of the company’s health-care initiatives, including new clinics, as the retailer looks for ways to further compete with Inc., and to build new sources of profitable revenue."

    Some of the stories about this suggest that this may mean that Walmart is not committed to its health care strategy, but I find that hard to believe.  With every passing day it seems clearer that there is a big opportunity here for companies that can successfully reinvent health care delivery systems, and this would seem like the wrong moment for Walmart to back off.  

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  No surprise here … Clorox saw its Q4 sales go up 24 percent and annual sales go up 10 percent, the company said this week.

    Wait a minute.  In this pandemic, sales only went up that much?  I'm actually am little surprised. 

    •  The Ottawa Business Journal reports that Empire Company, parent to the Sobeys and Safeway chains in Canada, plans to ramp up its expansion of the Farm Boy banner that it acquired in 2018.  Some 20 new locations are planned for the Ontario province, the story says.

    The Journal also says that Empire plans to expand its e-commerce delivery systems, utilizing both Ocado-developed robotic warehouses and a store pick model that is more appropriate for areas not densely enough populated to justify the building of as fulfillment center.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    Reacting to stories this week about retail bankruptcies and closures, one MNB reader wrote:

    Kevin, I know I’m not the first reader to express this thought and understand my comment may stem from age but the idea of closing so many retail stores is scary. What are we moving towards? I understand the need for many people to order online during this pandemic BUT, now it’s overkill. Why do we need to destroy the foundation of our economy by living at home and never going out? You can buy a car and have it delivered to your home without ever testing driving the vehicle, or workout using The Mirror (or other programs), purchase an entire new wardrobe and on and on.

    What is happening to the idea of going out to shop – for anything! No interaction with other people is not healthy. How can our economy thrive without real estate, retail shops, movie theaters, restaurants, music clubs, live theater, or even test driving a car? I find this distressing and depressing. There has to be a way to save these retailers (large and small), the jobs and our socialization! I don’t want the party to be over.

    Responding to the story about the New York Times  journalist who tried to avoid using any products made by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for a period of time, MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

    The most telling sentence in the whole story to me was "After the experiment was over, though, I went back to using the companies’ services again, because as it demonstrated, I didn’t really have any other choice." Scary, very scary!

    And, from MNB reader Frank J Loffa:

    Great exchange with Scott Moses, he brings great perspective and insight in to how our industry operates and a clear vision of how to strategize for future success.

    Thanks.  Scott is the best, and an invaluable resource for the retailers that work with him.

    Published on: August 5, 2020

    When the Miami Marlins blanked the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 at Camden Yards last night, it was with 17 players who were not on the roster the last time the team played on July 26.

    The reason, of course, was the coronavirus - more than half the team's 30-man roster had been place don injured reserve list because of being infected by Covid-19.  Seven of the replacement players never had played for the Marlins before, and two of them had never played in the major leagues.  Marlins manager Don Mattingly said that he'd never met some of the players who took the field for him last night.

    Some perspective from the Wall Street Journal:

    "Baseball knew that Covid-19 cases were inevitable when it decided to pursue a season amid the pandemic with teams traveling between cities rather than living in a self-contained bubble. The idea was to push on despite the virus by quickly removing infected players from the population and plugging in new bodies who hadn’t been exposed as needed.

    "To allow for this jigsaw puzzle, each team established a second location where they can stash 30 players to serve as something resembling a farm system with the minor-league campaign canceled.

    "The extra pool, however, wasn’t designed for a situation like the one the Marlins faced, in which nearly two-thirds of the roster disappeared at once. It’s a scenario that risked not just sidelining the Marlins, but shutting down the entire sport altogether."

    Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's commissioner, has said that he reserves the right to shut down the sport if the situation gets to the point where competitive integrity is threatened.