Major League Baseball played a total of three games before their nightmare scenario became a reality.
The MLB season began on July 23rd, but with it came what many sports fans, players and MLB executives feared: COVID-19.
The Washington Nationals young superstar outfielder Juan Soto missed opening night. Soto had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day and was forced into self-isolation. Other players around the league tested positive, but nothing near as bad as what happened on Monday.
The Miami Marlins, who had just finished off a series in Philadelphia against the Phillies, are the first team to become a victim to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team. 17 of the 33 players and personal that traveled to Philadelphia tested positive.
The Marlins cancelled their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, with the Philadelphia Phillies, who were to play host to the New York Yankees, following suit.
“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,” said Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
“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,” said Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter.
The Marlins have yet to play a game since the outbreak began. The Phillies, who the Marlins had played before all of the positive tests, have had no tests come back positive.
Major League Baseball faces a situation it deeply feared, and that was a potential outbreak within a team. Similar to how COVID-19 spread around the world, it is making its way across the world of baseball at a rapid pace.
There were no talks of cancelling the season after the reported outbreak within the Marlins. However, it is a bad look for Major League Baseball, who, after an embarrassingly public labor dispute with its players, need all the goodwill they can get.
“This is one of the things that could really put a halt in the progression of where you’re going through the season. Hopefully, they’ll be able to continue and hopefully this is an outlier … (and) a number of players and personnel are not infected … So, we’ll just have to see how this plays out,” said Dr. Anthony Facui, who threw out the first pitch at the Yankees Nationals game in D.C. on Opening Night.
If they decide to continue the season, the MLB could see more players opt-out of the season, including big name players like Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout, who welcomed a child into the world earlier this year. It is a slippery slope, as many Americans were thrilled to have a piece of normalcy return to their lives.
However, human beings are at risk and their health should take priority over entertainment or bottom lines.
Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred have and important decision to make. Continue a season that should not have started in the first place, or do the right thing for the players, coaches, umpires and anyone else involved and call off the shortened season before another individual is affected.