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Morning Mound Visit: Marlins outbreak confirms this wasn’t a good idea

Roughly half of the Marlins have tested positive, and MLB’s solution is to throw more bodies at the problem.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies
Since Friday, 12 Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s the entire team high-fiving on Sunday.
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 season is less than a week old, and already, we’ve seen our first team-wide outbreak. Before Sunday’s game against the Phillies, three players learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19, and on Friday, a fourth player tested positive as well. No one—not the Marlins, nor the Phillies, nor Rob Manfred—thought it wise to postpone the game when the makings of an outbreak were there, and so the two teams played on.

On Monday, eight more Marlins came back positive for the coronavirus. The Phillies were exposed on Sunday and all through the weekend which led to the postponement of their game against the Yankees on Monday evening. The Marlins, who were scheduled to open at home against Baltimore, remained quarantined in Philadelphia with plans to drive to Baltimore for Wednesday’s game.

If you remember, the Orlando Pride withdrew from the NWSL Challenger’s Cup tournament after eight players tested positive. The Marlins, however, are not withdrawing from the season. Quite the opposite is true. The Marlins scooped up two players off waivers yesterday—Josh Smith and Justin Shafer—because from the team’s perspective, they’re running out of bodies to throw on the field.

In response, the commissioner’s office promised to redouble health directives and enforce the no spitting, no high-fiving rules, which if you watched any game this weekend, you saw players break those protocols at least once per inning.

Dennis Eckersley described MLB’s situation by saying, “This season feels like the groundscrew is waiting by the tarp,” but the league seems hell bent on making this thing official even though we’re not even through the top of the first and the rain is already here.


Jayson Stark and Ken Rosenthal | The Athletic $: Before the additional eight positive tests came back, Jayson Stark wondered why the Marlins and Phillies played on Sunday at all.

Shakeia Taylor | Baseball Prospectus $: In the midst of a social uprising, MLB is trying to remain on the fence. It wants to be seen supporting the Black Lives Matter movement while not politicizing the message. In trying to have it both ways, MLB’s activism is reduced to performance art.

Scott Coleman | Talking Chop: In a do-or-die Game Five, Atlanta turned to Mike Foltynewicz. A 10-run first and one start later, the righty has been designated for assignment.