After barely having any sports to watch for months, some sense of normalcy returned to America recently when the 2020 MLB season began. It was fun for a few days, seeing hitters smash home runs, and pitchers throw unhittable pitches. However, after a COVID-19 outbreak has spread among the Miami Marlins, the baseball season could be on the verge of ending after barely getting started.
The Marlins had a COVID-19 outbreak soon after the start of the MLB season
According to ESPN, four Miami Marlins players tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday. The team, however, still played its game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, winning 11-6.
The total cases on the Marlins in recent days have increased to at least 13, per ESPN. This ultimately resulted in their Monday game against the Baltimore Orioles getting postponed.
“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” MLB said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.”
Additionally, Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter also released a statement.
“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters,” Jeter said, according to ESPN. “After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. 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.”
The New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies game also got postponed
Since the Phillies played the Marlins on Sunday — and since the game took place at the Phillies’ home park — their Monday home game against the New York Yankees was also postponed.
The Phillies are, of course, now waiting and hoping that they don’t also have an outbreak.
“We sent a text out to our players and made sure that they knew what was going on,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday, according to USA Today. “We’re constantly reminding the guys. I mean, you have to be safe. You can’t really have a lot of contact with other people because you put everybody in danger.”
Obviously, all of this news is a huge blow to the MLB. It was hard enough to get back onto the field due to labor negotiations. So, where does the MLB season go from here?
Is the 2020 MLB season over?
The MLB season is not paused or canceled yet. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that since the outbreak is just “confined to the Marlins thus far, there’s been no serious discussion at this point about pausing/suspending the season.”
However, if there is even one more outbreak on one more team, how could the league justifiably keep the season going?
We have no idea what it will take for the MLB to pause or cancel the season. There is no stated provision in the league and the union’s agreement on what could pause or cancel play, according to CBS Sports. So, the decision is entirely that of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s.
Before the season began, Manfred actually discussed what it would take while on the Dan Patrick Show.
“I think the way that I think about it, Dan, is in the vein of competitive integrity, in a 60-game season,” Manfred said, according to CBS Sports. “If we have a team or two that’s really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can’t play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition and we’d have to think very, very hard about what we’re doing.”
If more and more Marlins players continue to test positive — or if another team has several players test positive — wouldn’t that have a real impact on competition?
For now, the MLB season appears to still be a go. However, with the seriousness of the outbreak on the Marlins, it could sadly be on the verge of ending.