After just one weekend of baseball, the 2020 MLB season has already hit a snag. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak among the Miami Marlins club, the league is postponing all Marlins games through Sunday. The move will require other teams to adjust their schedules as MLB looks to continue play during an already abbreviated season.
Miami’s next six games, starting with Tuesday’s matchup against the Baltimore Orioles, have been postponed. The league wants the franchise to reassess how it follows the coronavirus guidelines and be ready to resume play.
“Given the current circumstances, MLB believes that it is most prudent to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and planning their baseball operations for a resumption early next week,” MLB said in a statement.
According to CEO Derek Jeter, the team is undergoing daily testing and is still stationed in Philadelphia. They will remain up north until the team can gather more information pertaining to the outbreak.
“We continue to take this entire situation very seriously. All of our players, coaches and staff are, understandably, having a difficult time enduring this experience. After receiving additional test results on our Major League team this morning, we reached out to the Commissioner’s Office with concern for the health and safety of our team as well as our opponents,” Jeter said.
The Marlins’ delayed games this week will impact four other major league clubs. The Orioles have already missed the first two games of their four-game series against the Marlins on Monday and Tuesday.
The Yankees, who were scheduled to play the Phillies earlier this week, also saw their games postponed. New York would have occupied the same visitors clubhouse where the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak originated. The first two games of the New York-Philadelphia series were postponed “out of an abundance of caution.”
With the Marlins out of commission, the Yankees will travel to Baltimore for a two-game series against the Orioles on Wednesday and Thursday. Yankees team representative Zack Britton said “everyone understood that this was a possibility,” but that the “biggest thing is for us to continue.”
“We had a discussion, first off, about what was happening here. We were given some options on what we could possibly do. Guys felt like, obviously, we want to play. Our team has done a pretty good job,” Britton said Tuesday.
“I think overall [we’re] following the protocols, and our medical staff has done a great job of sanitizing the visiting clubhouse. And we felt like we didn’t want to take three to four days off if there’s an opportunity for us to go to Baltimore and play.”
The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies are the other two teams whose schedules were impacted by the Marlins outbreak.
The Phillies, whose last game was against the Marlins Sunday afternoon, will resume play against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays will be the home team since Canada barred them from playing at Rogers Center.
The Nationals, who are currently playing the Toronto Blue Jays, have decided to postpone their three-game series against the Marlins scheduled for this weekend. Team manager David Martinez said a “vast majority” of his players voted against going to Miami for their weekend series.
Prior to the Nationals’ opening night game against the Yankees on July 24, the team lost star outfielder Juan Soto to a positive COVID-19 test. The players’ vote not to travel to Miami demonstrates a lack of confidence in the MLB’s safety protocols amid coronavirus.
Sources familiar with the Marlins outbreak reported on Tuesday that four more members of the team tested positive for coronavirus. This brings the total infected number to 17 over the past five days. Eleven players and two coaches tested positive over the weekend.
Despite the additional confirmed cases, MLB reported that there have been no new positive results of COVID-19 among the other 29 teams. The league has conducted more than 6,400 tests since the start of the truncated season.
“The difficult circumstances of one Club reinforce the vital need to be diligent with the protocols in all ways. We will continue to bolster our protocols and make any necessary adjustments,” MLB said in a statement.
The Marlins could have allegedly continued the outbreak. Ahead of their game against the Phillies Sunday, the team found out that starting pitcher Jose Urena had tested positive for COVID-19. Despite the results, the players voted in a group chat to proceed with the game anyway.
“We made the decision that we’re going to continue to do this. We’re going to continue to be responsible. Just play the game as hard as we can,” Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas said.
On Tuesday, however, the Miami Marlins told CNN that it had alerted the league and the Phillies of the team’s positive tests. The Marlins said the Phillies agreed to play the game despite the test results.