News and Commentary

MLB Season In Jeopardy, Emergency Meetings Called After 14 Marlins Players Test Positive For COVID-19
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JULY 22: The Miami Marlins celebrate their 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves by tipping their hats after an exhibition game at Truist Park on July 22, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Officials with Major League Baseball called an emergency meeting early Monday after 14 players on the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus, canceling that team’s opening day game and putting the future of the MLB’s truncated 2020 season in jeopardy.

The Marlins played just two games — a short series against the Philadelphia Phillies — and were scheduled to have their first home game on Monday. That game has now been canceled after four players tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and eight more players and two coaches tested positive for the virus on Monday, according to Fox News.

Unlike the NBA, which is secluding its players in a “bubble,” and hosting all games at Walt Disney World’s professional sports complex in Orlando, Florida, the MLB declared a short, but largely normal season for its players, allowing teams to compete in several cities outside of their home base, but in their select “region.”

The Marlins ventured as far as Philadelphia in the first week of play but also took part in an exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves in Georgia.

The team also played their second game against the Phillies Sunday afternoon, after two players revealed they were infected with the novel coronavirus.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters Sunday that he was “concerned” about the spread of coronavirus within his clubhouse — and that was before a remaining 10 team members also tested positive. It is not clear, at the moment, whether any players are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

“It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things. They want how they’re feeling about the situation to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health,” Mattingly said.

Major League Baseball responded to the outbreak on Monday morning with signs they may be planning to cancel the season after most teams played just two games. One reporter, on social media, said that the prevailing word among MLB leadership was that the 2020 season was in “jeopardy” and that the MLB could decide as early as Monday morning whether games will continue.

Commentator Eric Jackson added later Monday morning that the MLB had called an “emergency meeting” to discuss the situation.

Apparently fearing that they have been exposed to the virus, the Phillies canceled their Monday afternoon game against the New York Yankees. The Phillies are also, reportedly, “fumigating” the visitors’ clubhouse.

In a statement, the MLB announced just the Marlins cancelations and noted that all Marlins team members are now in self-quarantine awaiting full team test results.

As a number of baseball reporters noted Monday morning, there is no secondary plan if the league experiences an outbreak, however, the MLB commissioner retains the right to cancel the season without any input or vote from team leadership, owners, or managers.

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