If losing the opening series wasn’t enough, the Phillies got some potentially devastating news today. Due to what seems to be a COVID-19 outbreak within the Miami Marlins’ locker room, the opening game between the Phillies and the Yankees has been cancelled. This is the one thing I, along with all the people in the country, were afraid of.
On Sunday morning, the Marlins had disclosed that four players on the team (Jose Urena, Jorge Alfaro, Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez) had tested positive for the virus, which made the beatdown they handed the Phillies all the more sad. Questions will undoubtedly be asked as to why the game was even played yesterday. After the game, the Marlins announced that they would be staying in Philly overnight, with some players even staying in the city to quarantine.
This morning, it was reported that eight more players and two coaches had also tested positive for the virus and the opening game of Miami’s series with Baltimore would be cancelled.
Out of fear of the virus spreading like wildfire, the MLB made the decision to cancel the Phillies’ game with the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park. I would have to imagine that all of the Phillies players are being tested as we speak. ESPN’s Marly Rivera reported that an option being considered by all parties is to move the series to the Bronx and to play a doubleheader tomorrow to make up for the lost game. Many Yankees players have also expressed concern about playing the Phillies until all the tests have come back.
As mentioned before, this is an absolute nightmare scenario for the MLB. Florida just passed New York for the second most COVID-19 cases in the country. Whatever protocols that the MLB instituted prior to the season did not help players from contracting the virus, as clearly seen by almost an entire team testing positive. While certain players on the Phillies, like Rhys Hoskins and Didi Gregorius, have been wearing masks, most of Phillies players have not been wearing them.
Hell, most of the players in the entire league haven’t been wearing them.
Like all the professional sports leagues in the country, the MLB has access to testing whenever they see fit. However, the results are not immediately available after the test is given. Unfortunately, the time period between testing and results was long enough to squeeze in Sunday’s game. That decision could prove to be the one that dooms this season.
The MLB’s decision to not put the entire sport in a bubble is looking worse and worse with every test that comes back positive. I would be shocked if the Phillies don’t have any positive tests come back because of this lapse in judgment. Dr. John Swartzberg, in a conversation with ESPN’s Jayson Stark, stated, “If I were the Phillies’ owner, I might test every day for two weeks.”
How can the league promise the players, coaches, broadcasters, etc. that everyone will be safe with the restart? This debacle proves that they can’t.
If the MLB has to shut down until this outbreak is contained, this season will quickly be squashed due to the already shrunk size of the schedule. We only have 57 games left, and any lengthy break will cause too many logistical issues to be able to finish this season.
Any hope of this being our year seem to be dwindling, and not just due to performance.