Following their opening road series against the Philadelphia Phillies, a total of 14 Miami Marlins players, coaches and staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to a league source and multiple reports. As of this writing, the Marlins franchise has only confirmed the postponement of tonight’s contest against the Baltimore Orioles.
Complicating matters is that the Philadelphia Phillies were also possibly exposed to this sudden COVID-19 outbreak, causing their opening game against the New York Yankees to also be postponed, as the league conducts more coronavirus testing.
According to ESPN, 11 Marlins players in total are believed to have tested positive for COVID-19, and Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said that the team is staying in Philadelphia pending the results of a new round of testing.
“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,” Jeter said in a statement.
News of the COVID-19 outbreak cast a wet blanket on an otherwise very successful opening weekend for baseball after having the start of their season delayed nearly four months.
Television ratings for the opening night matchup between the Yankees and Nationals drew record-high TV ratings
, as many sports fans flocked to their televisions to watch the first regular-season games for a United States professional sports league since everything came to a screeching halt in mid-March.
After this outbreak however, many questions are once again surfacing about the viability of being able to still have a regular-season in the middle of a pandemic.
Per a report from CNN, Commissioner Rob Manfred did not discuss canceling the season
with the league’s 30 team owners during a conference call to discuss the Marlins’ outbreak.
While several teams from across Major League Baseball have already had to place players on the injured list due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Marlins are the first team to have an outbreak of this magnitude, sending shockwaves to the other professional sports leagues aiming to return in the next few weeks, most specifically the NBA and NFL.
If the Marlins are able to resume action later this week, they may need to use any of their 30 prospects from their training site in nearby Jupiter, Florida, or sign free agents to fill the void.
It is not known when the postponed games will be rescheduled, nor is it known if the Marlins, a team very much expected to be in rebuilding mode and not a contender for the postseason, will elect to continue to play this season.