It took five days into the shortened season before half of the Miami Marlins’ active roster and two coaches tested positive for Coronavirus. This incident should come as no surprise, considering the spike in cases concurrently happening outside of sports. The Marlins season is paused for a week as the team regroups. The infected players are recuperating in Philadelphia with players from the team’s taxi squad preparing to play. Nevertheless, it is an alarming reminder of how tenuous the just-started baseball season is.
A domino effect
It turns out that four players who tested positive played the same day in Philadelphia. While no Phillies players have since tested positive, the team had two games with the Oriels postponed, and two more against the Yankees also postponed. Keep in mind that Coronavirus symptoms can take 14 days to incubate, so the team could start spreading it as soon as it begins playing.
Don’t come home
The Miami mayor also requested that the Marlins follow the 14-day quarantine protocol before coming back to Miami. It could mean that the team may need to stay in Philadelphia and play games there when the team resumes its schedule on August 4 against the Phillies. This scenario would mean playing as the home team in the visitors’ park, which the Blue Jays are doing until their stadium in Buffalo is ready because Canada will not allow players to travel to Toronto.
An uneasy feeling
The impact of the Marlins also sets off an uneasy feeling among some players who may not feel comfortable with the level of risk involved in playing. As of now, players who opt out of playing scheduled games cannot return to play later games. It will be interesting to see how many players stick with playing if the cases continue to increase.
No one knows
The league is following protocols drafted before the season, so the games continue unless MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says otherwise – he was given that power back in March by the Players Association. It is impossible to tell whether MLB’s course of action is the right one, but the games not impacted by the Marlins continue as scheduled.