Major League Baseball's season may already be in jeopardy after one team's COVID-19 cases caused the postponement of two games Monday, NBC Sports reported.
The Florida Marlins have had 14 players and coaches test positive for the novel coronavirus in recent days, ESPN reported, forcing the league to postpone the team's scheduled game against the Baltimore Orioles, as well as the game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, because Philadelphia hosted the Marlins for a three-game series that ended Sunday.
Eight more players and two coaches with the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, as an outbreak has spr… https://t.co/gItVsapkUY— Jeff Passan (@Jeff Passan)1595855211.0
Major League Baseball issued a statement:
Tonight's scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing. The members of the Marlins' traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results. Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins' weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.
The league planned to have a 60-game season with no fans attending games. Players and coaches are subject to COVID-19 testing every other day, and other personnel are also tested multiple times per week. When players test positive, they are quarantined until they produce two negative tests, at least 24 hours apart, and go 72 hours without displaying symptoms.
The Marlins' outbreak could be a case study in what to do (or not do) in response to positive tests in professional sports. The NFL hasn't started yet, and the NBA has put players, coaches, and members of the media into a restrictive "bubble" in Orlando where all games will be played.
Major League Baseball is taking a less restrictive approach, allowing teams to travel across the country as they would during a normal season. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Major League Baseball explored the possibility of a bubble format in Arizona, but could not get a buy-in from the players union.
The MLB couldn’t sell a bubble in Arizona to its players association. Without a comprehensive national plan to curb… https://t.co/uLdFG2XABp— Adrian Wojnarowski (@Adrian Wojnarowski)1595856980.0
There have been no reports that any of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 in MLB have gotten severely ill, but details on their condition haven't been released.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the postponement will give teams a chance to fully assess the situation and decide how to proceed.
"The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters," Jeter said in a statement. "After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing tonight's home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available."