The season is nearly two weeks old and still several teams haven’t played more than five games. The Marlins finished one series before a team-wide outbreak put them and the Phillies out of action. The Phillies played just their fourth game of the season Monday night, and inclement weather has already postponed Tuesday’s game against the Yankees.
The Cardinals suffered an outbreak of their own, and after it was revealed that 13 players and staff had tested positive, their four-game series against the Tigers was postponed.
Here’s the official postponement of the Cardinals-Tigers series. With the outbreak of 13 cases of COVID-19 in the Cardinals organization, it was inevitable. Between this and the @Ken_Rosenthal report that the Field of Dreams game has been canceled, a rough day for the Cardinals. pic.twitter.com/cgcVqTL0Br— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 3, 2020
As mentioned in Jeff Passan’s tweet, the Field of Dreams game between the Cardinals and White Sox has been canceled. Ken Rosenthal said that the new positive cases weren’t the reason for the cancellation. Rather, logistical issues doomed the game.
If the season finishes, it’s hard to see how every team could play 60 games. The Marlins are seven games behind most other teams. Even if the Marlins and their opponents remain COVID-free, they would still need to play weekly doubleheaders to catch up. Shortening doubleheaders to seven innings will help, but from what we’ve seen so far, delays are unavoidable.
It sounds like the Cardinals and Marlins outbreaks were the result of some irresponsible behavior that went against recommendations but didn’t break MLB’s safety protocols. Perhaps these situations will dissuade other players from going to bars or casinos, and maybe MLB will enforce its protocols and prohibit players from leaving the hotel rather than saying, “We’d prefer if you didn’t.”
To blame this on individual failings is reductive. If a player leaves the hotel for nonessential reasons that is, of course, extremely dumb. It heightens the risk that he will contract the virus and spread it to his teammates. If a player leaves his house at all, he’s still putting himself at risk even if he follows all protocols.
It would be great if the Cardinals were the last team to have major problems with the virus, and that MLB has figured this out. But to quote John Mozeliak, “I have no factual reason to believe that is true.”
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Patrick Dubuque | Baseball Prospectus $: MLB has a responsibility to keep its players and staff safe, but it has largely skirted that duty with recommendations rather than hard and fast rules.
Blake Harris | Halos Heaven: The good news is that there’s a reason Shohei Ohtani has pitched so poorly. The bad news is that it’s because he has a forearm strain and won’t be on the mound for 4-6 weeks.