Marlins Cancel Home Opener with 14 Positive COVID Cases, MLB Season in Jeopardy

Ed note: The total number of positive cases in the Marlins organization is actually 13, with 11 players and two coaches.

According to multiple reports, the Marlins had three players test positive for COVID-19 prior to Sunday’s game in Philadelphia. This came after another player had tested positive on Friday. They played the game anyway. Monday morning brought a slew of new reports that eight additional players and two coaches have tested positive, leading to a cancellation of the team’s flight back to Miami and its home opener against the Orioles.

W.T.F.

It’s not as though something like this is totally unexpected, especially for a team from Florida, but the main question is why Sunday’s game was allowed to take place at all given the number of positive tests. Infectious-disease experts told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark that this represented a “clear outbreak,” and that’s before the 10 additional personnel tested positive.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters that they “never really considered not playing” and shortstop Miguel Rojas confirmed as much. Rojas said that all 30 players had met prior to the game and decided that banging the game was “never our mentality,” though one has to hope he meant 26 players. I mean, if they had known positive players among their ranks, what the hell are they even doing?

The Phillies have quarantined their visiting clubhouse staff due to potential exposure over the weekend and the Yankees are traveling to Philly with their own clubhouse staff. If the series is played at all, which is still up in the air, the visitors will be using a clubhouse that has been cleaned and fumigated “50 different ways.” They’ll also be staying in a different hotel from the one the Marlins used.

If Miami is to continue beyond Monday, it’ll be with at least 10 players from the ancillary player pool up in Jupiter. We can joke about the Marlins’ roster already being filled with inexperienced players, but turning over literally one-third of it in the space of two days can’t be good. And that’s assuming there are no more positive cases pending.

Lest you think this is just a matter of one team, consider that the Reds may have an outbreak of their own on their hands. Infielder and DH Matt Davidson started Friday and then learned after the game that he had tested positive. Mike Moustakas had a hot start and then suddenly went on the IL Sunday after waking up feeling ill. Nick Senzel is also under the weather.

Where are the Cubs playing starting Monday evening? That’s right: Cincinnati.

It’s still early as of post time and a lot of things remain up in the air, but it seems as though there’s a real possibility that a few games will be cancelled. The season itself could even be in jeopardy as Major League Baseball has reportedly called for an emergency meeting in the wake of the Marlins’ situation.

More on this situation as it develops, particularly whether and how it impacts the Cubs in this upcoming series and the season ahead. If, that is, they’ll even have a series or season.


Update: The Yankees/Phillies game has indeed been canceled.


Update #2: Phillies players are being tested today, with a lab in the city checking the results quickly in order to make a determination on playing Tuesday’s game.

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