Baseball on the Brink: Marlins Covid-19 Outbreak Puts Season in Jeopardy.
Written by Andrew Goldberg
It was supposed to be a glorious weekend of baseball for the Miami Marlins. After waiting months for baseball’s long-awaited opening day, the Marlins managed to take two of three games from the division rival Philadelphia Phillies, putting them over .500 in July for the first time since 2017. With a series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles on the horizon, many fans were beginning to look at this year’s Marlins team with a glint of hope.
Today, those same fans are simply hoping for games to be played at all. Last Monday’s revelation that a group of Marlins players had tested positive for Covid-19 forced Major League Baseball to postpone the Marlins season indefinitely, with many around the league questioning how the league can safely bring back players in time for the season to resume.
As of this writing 18 Marlins players and staff have tested positive for the virus along with 2 Phillies staff members, creating a necessary pause in the action for both teams. The stoppage
comes on the heels of Miami electing to play Sunday’s game despite evidence of coronavirus in their locker room, as three starters were forced to sit out of the lineup after they tested positive Sunday morning. By Tuesday, the infection had spread to nearly half the team, creating a chaotic situation for baseball’s commissioner Rob Manfred.
It’s been a challenging summer for Manfred, who has handled the Houston Astros cheating scandal, labor relations with the Major League Baseball Player’s Union, and the implementation of Covid-19 protocols with varying levels of success. Yet despite this recent setback, Manfred does not believe the latest tests results are a death blow to this season.
“I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” says Manfred. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters. That’s why we have the expanded pool of additional players. We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
Of course, aside from ensuring the safety of its players and staff, Major League Baseball is now also faced with the challenge re-structuring its schedule. With both the Marlins and Phillies both idle until at least next week, it is up to the league to find a way to either make up those games or drastically shorten the season, throwing the league’s playoff qualification system through a loop. As Manfred ponders his decision, the remaining baseball teams anxiously play on.