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How baseball's coronavirus reckoning affects everything

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.

Why it matters: It's a bad sign for baseball moving forward. But most importantly, it's a bad sign for just about everything in our daily lives — showing that something approaching normal can't simply be willed into existence.


  • 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.
  • It's not a great omen for football in the months ahead, as both the NFL and college football aren't planning bubbles.

What's next: 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?

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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