Less than one week into the 2020 season, MLB has a full blown COVID-19 crisis on its hands.. The outbreak forced games to be postponed in Miami and Philadelphia, where the Marlins played this past weekend.
Following the Marlins outbreak, the "vast majority" of Washington Nationals players voted against traveling to Miami for a three-game series this upcoming weekend, reports The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. The report comes one day after Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters " ." Martinez missed time last season with a heart condition.
Washington's player vote is another indication the personnel on the field are not confident (or are at least less confident) in the health and safety protocols in the wake of the Marlins outbreak. Martinez admitted he is scared and David Price said he opted out because he did not believe the player's "health wasn't been put first."
Now an entire team -- the defending World Series champions, at that -- have voted against traveling to play a team experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak in a state where the virus is running rampant. Florida currently has the second-most COVID-19 cases of any state. When players say they don't feel safe traveling to play games, it's hard to see how MLB could force them to do exactly that.
The Nationals player vote puts commissioner Rob Manfred in a difficult spot. Either he orders the Nationals to go to Miami and looks callous, or he caves and invites the other 29 clubs to essentially dictate travel the rest of the season. It is within Manfred's rights to send the Nationals to Miami, but if safety is truly the No. 1 concern, then it might be wise to listen to the players.
The obvious alternative to playing the series in Miami is playing it in Nationals Park with the Marlins serving as the "home" team. The Nationals will be the "road" team for a two-game series against the Blue Jays at Nationals Park this Wednesday and Thursday. The Blue Jays are waiting for upgrades to be made to Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo before playing games there.
Despite the Marlins outbreak,. He added a team "losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change," and, well, 15 Marlins players have tested positive. That's half their roster.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the Marlins outbreak could put the season "in danger" on Tuesday.