Not even a week into MLB’s 2020 revised season, an entire team has been forced to shut down.
After as many as 15 players and two staff members within the Miami Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus, the franchise’s season has been put on hold. The positive tests came within a five-day span and they’ll be shut down through at least Sunday.
“The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind,” MLB said in a statement. “The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts. The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care.”
Miami Marlins' 2020 season suspended by Major League Baseball after COVID-19 outbreak among players, coaches https://t.co/7lKI7LDiKS
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 28, 2020
The positive tests have resulted in several postponements of games that included the Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles. Miami’s season–which remember, is only 60 games this season–is on pause until Aug. 3. The Marlins will now have to make these games up at a later date and MLB has been forced to revise the schedule for the Phillies, Yankees, and Orioles.
The Marlins were scheduled to play against the Washington Nationals later this week in a three-game series down in Florida. According to a report by The Athletic, a majority of the Nats players have elected to not go down for safety reasons. Commissioner Rob Manfred will now have to decide if he wants to force players who feel unsafe to go down to a virus hotspot or postpone even more games.
In team vote, vast majority of Nationals players voted against going to Miami for three-game series this weekend, sources tell The Athletic. Decision will rest with MLB.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2020
The league is also reportedly considering letting teams finish below the 60-game mark if it becomes too difficult to sneak in the postponed games.
Heard MLB would like to get 60-game season in for all teams, but not wedded to it. If some teams play 58, 56, 55, etc, winning pct would determine playoff spots.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 28, 2020
Marlins players were reportedly being tested every other day instead of daily. Other sports leagues such as the NBA, WNBA, and MLS have established protected ” bubble” concepts–in Florida–that have required daily testing of the virus from the jump and still do. Neither has yet to encounter a positive test within its respective bubble. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter announced earlier on Tuesday--well after the positive tests began to come back–that Miami would now go through daily testing.
We have moved to a daily testing schedule while we isolate and quarantine appropriately, along with enacting additional preventive procedures with our traveling party,” Jeter said in a press release. “We look forward to safely returning to Miami where we conducted a successful and healthy Spring 2.0 before departing on the road and experiencing challenges. For the time being, we will remain in Philadelphia and gather information in order to make informed decisions and prepare for our return to action next week.
Through Opening Day, MLB said they had just a 0.3 percent positive case rate out of over 32,000 administered tests. However, now that teams are constantly going to be traveling from state to state, controlling outbreaks is going to be a much more difficult task than what the NBA, WNBA, and MLS are dealing with.
Even with the outbreak, the people in charge do not plan on canceling the season.
Owners completed their weekly call. No talk of cancelling the season despite the #Marlins outbreak.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 27, 2020
According to a report by CNN, the Marlins apparently made it known to both the league and Phillies that they had confirmed positives tests with the team. Both teams decided to play, anyways, and it was approved by MLB.