The restart to Major League Baseball has hardly even begun before it was announced that a number of players with the Miami Marlins had contracted the coronavirus. Initially thought to be an isolated case involving a small number of players, the situation quickly spiraled out of control resulting in a sudden announcement by the MBL that is had cancelled two Monday night games.
The cancelled games included the Miami Marlins home opener against Baltimore and the New York Yankees’ game against the Phillies. The Marlins are struggling to come to terms with their predicament after reporting more than a dozen players and support staff.
This has resulted in the team desperately trying to find replacements while dealing with the fallout. The New York Yankees were given an unplanned day off in Philadelphia while they underwent testing for the virus.
Many in Major League Baseball are feeling apprehension at returning, including Dave Martinez, the Washington Nationals manager. After recognizing the season has hardly begun, the recent news of reported infections has Martinez feeling scared.
For now, the Yankees will remain in Philadelphia, as will their clubhouse staff. The Miami Marlins have postponed returning home on Sunday as planned. However, Baltimore intends to return home Monday night leaving speculation that their game against Miami will likely be cancelled as well.
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It was also reported by White Sox GM Rick Hahn that manager Rick Renteria will be put into quarantine after he reported a small cough and some congestion. The outbreak became a hot subject with many commenting about the fear it is creating. Dave Martinez of the Nationals is one of those who are at risk due to a heart condition. Scheduled to play the Marlins this coming weekend, Martinez is concerned. Commenting, the Nationals manager stated,
“My level of concern went from about an eight to a 12. I mean this thing really hits home now. I got guys in our clubhouse that are really concerned, as well.”
The postponement was announced by Major League Baseball about eight hours before the games were to begin. It has said that additional testing was underway and that included the Phillies. In a statement, the MLB said,
“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results.”
The news of the outbreak comes just as the season started and is now bringing into question how the MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred is managing player and support staff safety. The general vibe seems to be creating a measure of mistrust amongst players with Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price tweeting,
“Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first. Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”
Also drawing attention to the situation is those involved with infectious diseases. The University of Toronto’s Dr. Andrew Morris feels that the outbreak is not a surprise as the commissioners’ plan was flawed from the starting. Speaking on this, Morris stated,
“Baseball is in huge trouble. It makes me wonder if they are listening to the advice of experts or whether their experts are giving them good advice. This was not a plan anyone who knows what they are talking about would have conceived. It’s playing out like it was supposed to play out.”
After test results were returned, the Marlins added Garrett Cooper, Harold Ramirez and Jose Urena to its injured list and have brought in Justin Shafer and Josh Smith as replacements. However, they most likely will need to rely on others from its training camp to fill the void. As MLB teams were given permission to retain sixty players this season, it gives the Marlins some options. It is unknown if Miami will play in scheduled games on Wednesday and Thursday, but CEO Derek Jeter has released a statement saying,
“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.”
It brings into question whether the source of the infection came while Miami player exhibition games in Atlanta on Tuesday and Thursday of last week against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves reported their top two pitchers are out with COVID-like symptoms as well. Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon stated that he feels its important to trace how the infection occurred before adding,
“That’s the one thing we need to know first before you jump to a lot of different conclusions. If there was a breach of protocol by any of those players, then it’s more easily explainable, and if not, then it becomes more problematic. I would just wait and see, let them trace things back, try to figure out why it occurred, and then you start creating your conclusions or drawing your plan up to solve it.”