Major League Baseball's season is just more than a week old, yet the schedule continues to change due to COVID-19 cases. multiple Cardinals players and staffers tested positive as well, forcing the postponement of St. Louis' games in Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday., have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.. In the last two days,
As of Saturday, 17 different MLB games had been postponed due to COVID-19 cases, and three of the league's 15 games (20 percent) originally on the slate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are not being played as scheduled. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Sunday's doubleheader between the Brewers and Cardinals was postponed, meaning one of the games in their originally scheduled three-game set was called off twice. Here are those postponed games and their original dates:
- Marlins-Orioles four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
- Yankees-Phillies four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
- Marlins-Nationals three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
- Phillies-Blue Jays three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
- Brewers-Cardinals three game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
MLB announced an updated schedule for the teams impacted by positive COVID-19 tests on Saturday. The Marlins are set to return to the field Tuesday against the Orioles, and the Phillies will return on Monday vs. the Yankees.
The Yankees and Orioles are bystanders in the outbreak. The Yankees were scheduled to play four games with the Phillies this week (two in Philadelphia and two in New York) while the Orioles were scheduled to play four games with the Marlins (two in Miami and two in Baltimore). The revised schedule saw the Yankees and Orioles playing Wednesday and Thursday rather than sit idle.
The Marlins were also scheduled to play a three-game series against the Nationals this weekend. . Under the revised schedule, the Nationals will not play this weekend while the Marlins are on hiatus. Here, for the sake of laying it all out, is the revised schedule:
Tues., July 28
|at TOR||vs. WSH||at MIN||at PIT|
Weds., July 29
|at TOR||vs. WSH||at MIN||at PIT|
Thurs., July 30
|at TOR||vs. WSH||OFF||OFF|
Fri., July 31
Sat., Aug. 1
Sun., Aug. 2
Mon., Aug. 3
|OFF||at DET||vs. CWS|
Tues., Aug. 4
|at ATL||at DET||vs. CWS|
"The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind," MLB said in a statement earlier this week. "The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts. The Marlins' personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care."
MLB will try to make up all postponed games later in the season via doubleheaders and eliminating off-days. If it's not possible, MLB is prepared to allow teams to finish the season with an unequal number of games played, and determine the postseason field with winning percentage, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
That would not be ideal but there is precedent. Teams finished with an unequal number of games around the 1981 strike -- some teams played as many as 111 games that season while others played as few as 103 -- and the standings were based on winning percentage. In these adverse times, a similar strategy would be warranted this year.
Former Marlins president David Samson weighed in on MLB's handling of the coronavirus on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
As a result of the outbreak,, CEO Derek Jeter announced Tuesday. Players and personnel are currently tested every other day. Here is Jeter's statement:
We continue to take this entire situation very seriously. All of our players, coaches and staff are, understandably, having a difficult time enduring this experience. After receiving additional test results on our Major League team this morning, we reached out to the Commissioner's Office with concern for the health and safety of our team as well as our opponents.
We have moved to a daily testing schedule while we isolate and quarantine appropriately, along with enacting additional preventive procedures with our traveling party. We look forward to safely returning to Miami where we conducted a successful and healthy Spring 2.0 before departing on the road and experiencing challenges. For the time being, we will remain in Philadelphia and gather information in order to make informed decisions and prepare for our return to action next week.
COVID-19 carries up to a 14-day incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) with a median of five days, meaning if any Phillies players and personnel were exposed during the Marlins series over the weekend, it may not show up in the initial rounds of testing. Players have been told that if they were exposed to COVID-19 from facing the Marlins, positive tests would show up between Thursday and Saturday, according to The Athletic's Jayson Stark. The safest approach would be waiting another few days and retesting before allowing the club to resume play.
MLB's press release says over 6,400 tests have been conducted since last Friday, July 24, and the Marlins are the only team with positive tests. It adds that the league had a 0.3 percent positive test rate on over 32,000 tests through Opening Day.
"The difficult circumstances of one Club reinforce the vital need to be diligent with the protocols in all ways, both on and off the field," MLB's statement says. "We will continue to bolster our protocols and make any necessary adjustments. The realities of the virus still loom large, and we must operate with that in mind every day. We are confident that Clubs and players will act appropriately, for themselves and for others, and the data provides reason to believe that the protocols can work effectively."
As for player compensation, the March agreement on prorated salaries only applies to how many games each team is able to play. However, players on the Phillies, Orioles and Nationals will get the full 60 games, even if they are unable to play 60 as a team due to the circumstances here, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. There is no word on the Marlins' players, though.
Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told MLBPA chief Tony Clark on Friday that coronavirus testing protocols need to be followed more closely and that more positive tests could see the league shut down as soon as early next week.