The Major League Baseball season is just four days old, but it is now in serious danger of being put on hold.
The Miami Marlins had four players scratched due to positive COVID-19 tests from Sunday’s game against the Phillies, including their starting pitcher, and somehow still managed to pull out an 11-6 win on the road. However, the Marlins, concerned of an outbreak within the team, stayed in Philadelphia rather than traveling home on Sunday night ahead of their home opener against the Orioles to await the next round of testing results.
Unfortunately, the fears of an internal outbreak were warranted, as results indicated Monday that, in total, 11 players and two coaches tested positive — of the 33 players that traveled, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. As a result, Miami’s game with Baltimore was postponed, as was the Phillies scheduled game with the Yankees.
Updating the Miami Marlins’ outbreak: The total number of infected players is 11 of the 33 who have been traveling with the team and two coaches, sources tell ESPN.
The Marlins-Orioles and Yankees-Phillies games tonight have been postponed. For now, the rest may be played.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2020
MLB Statement on postponements thought of Marlins-Oroles and Yankees-Phillies. pic.twitter.com/89HOHUQCws
— Nicky Football (@GetNickG) July 27, 2020
— Andre Fernandez (@FernandezAndreC) July 27, 2020
As Karl Ravech notes, the MLB season likely hinges on whether the Phillies, who played the Marlins last night, have any positive test results. The issue is, as we have learned, it’s possible to test negative for a few days before eventually testing positive, so Philadelphia is likely days away from being fully in the clear, even if their next round of test results come back negative.
The Phillies organization becomes a hugely important factor now in where things go from here. Test results on personnel likely will be known this evening. I believe other games scheduled for tonight will be played.
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) July 27, 2020
With baseball not in a bubble environment, there was always enhanced risk of an outbreak because of how slow testing can show a positive case. Juan Soto of the Nationals was the first player to test positive ahead of the Thursday opener against the Yankees — after having practiced with the team — as baseball hoped that would be an isolated incident. Unfortunately, the Marlins — who had been in Atlanta for scrimmages prior to heading to Philly — were not as lucky and when cases arrived in their locker room, the virus spread to a third of the team.
Baseball will apparently press on with the 26 other teams, but it sadly seems like the clock is ticking on the season. There will reportedly be a league-wide call among the owners on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation further, and determine how the league will proceed.
MLB has its scheduled call with all 30 owners today at about 12:30 pm Eastern. That suddenly is a different call than it would have been 48 hours ago.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 27, 2020
For now, we can simply hope the Marlins players who contracted the virus remain asymptomatic or only battle mild cases and the Phillies avoid an outbreak of their own, but baseball’s nightmare scenario for the opening weekend appears to have arrived.