Miami Marlins scrap plans for home opener after COVID-19 outbreak

Florida News
Swapping elbow bumps for high-fives and adding some mask use among players was not enough to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Miami Marlins. (Miami players Miguel Rojas and Isan Diaz celebrating during a game against the Phillies, July 26, 2020 in Philadelphia.)
Enlarge / Swapping elbow bumps for high-fives and adding some mask use among players was not enough to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Miami Marlins. (Miami players Miguel Rojas and Isan Diaz celebrating during a game against the Phillies, July 26, 2020 in Philadelphia.)

This year’s weird, truncated baseball season kicked off just four days ago, after Major League Baseball had to delay Opening Day for months due to the pandemic sweeping the globe. Despite new precautions, though, COVID-19 has already led to the cancellation of at least one game, as the disease is apparently racing through the Miami Marlins’ roster.

The Marlins were supposed to host the Baltimore Orioles tonight for their home opener in Miami. But as ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report, the game has been cancelled after at least 14 Miami players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Marlins spent the weekend in Philadelphia, taking a three-game series against the Phillies 2-1. On Sunday, however, sources told ESPN that four players tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including Jose Urena, who was expected to pitch Sunday’s game.

The team delayed its flight home to Miami, spending an additional night in Philadelphia instead and planning to travel to Florida Monday morning ahead of tonight’s scheduled game against Baltimore. By Monday morning, however, an additional eight players and two coaches had tested positive for the coronavirus. The team’s flight back to Miami this morning was cancelled, and the Marlins for the moment remain grounded in Philadelphia.

The Phillies were supposed to host the New York Yankees Monday night, but after 10:30am Monday multiple reporters Tweeted that tonight’s game between the Phillies and the Yankees has also been cancelled.

MLB’s coronavirus protocol calls for the players to be isolated from the team until they text negative for COVID-19 twice (at least 24 hours apart), have remained symptom-free for at least 72 hours, and are cleared to return by a physician. The outbreak among the Marlins, however, throws into doubt whether the shortened season, absence of crowds, and isolation protocol are enough to keep players safe.

League officials are reportedly planning an emergency meeting today to discuss the potential for continuing the shortened 60-day season.

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