Major League Baseball encountered its first significant obstacle this week when nine members of the Miami Marlins organization tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) following a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
There have been multiple Marlins players and members of the traveling party to yield positive results in the days since, bringing the team’s total number of cases to 19.
The outbreak has raised questions as to whether MLB can safely continue with the 2020 season. Team owners don’t seem to be concerned, as the possibility of pausing or canceling the campaign was not discussed during a recent conference call.
Moreover, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reiterated his confidence in the health and safety protocols currently in place that will allow the sport to continue business as usual.
The response wasn’t convincing enough for Los Angeles Dodgers starter David Price, who accused Manfred for not making players’ health the top priority.
Manfred denied Price’s claim during an interview with Tom Verducci on MLB Network, citing the cancellation of multiple games this week as proof the league is looking to keep its players safe at all costs:
“I disagree with David’s comments. I think both for the MLBPA and for us, the health issue was the one that had to be resolved. It was the most important one to all of us. In terms of the activities that have happened in the last few days, we followed the protocols to a T, we went beyond those protocols in the sense we cancelled games. We’re open to having to cancel additional games if we feel it’s necessary to keep our players safe.”
As Manfred notes, there were a flurry of games to be called off in recent days. All of the Marlins’ contests have been postponed through Tuesday, while a home-and-home series between the Phillies and New York Yankees was pushed back as well.
Price, who was the lone Dodgers player to opt out of playing this year, made the difficult choice due to health concerns for him and his family. It is also clear that a lack of confidence in the protocols played a role in his choice.
Phillies members test positive for COVID-19 days after series with Marlins
Part of the reason why MLB opted to postpone games between Philadelphia and New York this week was to ensure members of the Phillies weren’t exposed to COVID-19 following a three-game set against the Marlins.
While no Phillies players have tested positive after that point, the organization learned three staff members had. As a result, all activities at Citizen’s Bank Park were canceled Thursday, and the club’s upcoming weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays was additionally postponed.
However, MLB then announced Saturday that two of the three cases were false positives.
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