The game between the Phillies and New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park tonight has been postponed, according to The Athletic.
Tonight’s Yankees-Phillies game is cancelled, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2020
The Yankees were scheduled to begin a two-game series in Philadelphia as part of a four-game home-and-home set-up this week, but concerns over the Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreak and the time needed to conduct testing on all Phillies players and clean the two clubhouses forced MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s hand.
The entire 2020 MLB season could be next.
It appears there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Miami Marlins that has resulted in their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles to be cancelled as the team undergoes more testing at a hotel in Philadelphia.
Eight more players and two coaches with the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, as an outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total of cases in recent days to at least 14, sources familiar with the situation tell me and @JesseRogersESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2020
Prior to the series finale between the Marlins and Phillies yesterday, four Miami players tested positive for the coronavirus, including starting pitcher Jose Urena. All were reportedly asymptomatic. Nevertheless, without knowing the true nature of the outbreak, Major League Baseball allowed the Phils and Fish to play yesterday anyway, potentially exposing Phillies players, umpires, and coaches to the virus.
This is the nightmare scenario. Florida is one of the hottest COVID spots on the planet right now, and it’s clear baseball’s health, safety, and testing protocols aren’t preventing players from contracting the virus. Certain players have been wearing masks while on the field, specifically first basemen Rhys Hoskins and Jesus Aguilar, as well as shortstop Didi Gregorius, but most have not.
Baseball is fortunate that they are able to conduct coronavirus testing whenever they need to and get rapid results. However, there is still a window of uncertainty between those tests and the results. In the case of this weekend’s series between the Phillies and Marlins, that gap was Sunday’s game, in which multiple others could have been exposed.
At this point, it’s hard to see how baseball can continue.
What about the hotel workers where the Marlins are staying? What about the New York Yankees, who will be coming to Philadelphia for a quick two-game series this week? How do they use the visitor’s clubhouse, knowing there was an outbreak of COVID there just days earlier? How does that series get played? How do the Marlins take the field at all for the next two weeks?
No one wants the 2020 season to unravel just as it’s getting started, but it would be irresponsible to continue playing games now. The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t allowed to play in their own home stadium. Even a lowly team like the Marlins needs its best players on the field, and with this outbreak, there’s no way they can do that. What’s it going to take for MLB to decide too much is too much? When half the Yankees are out? When Mike Trout goes down?
This quote didn't make the story. But Dr. John Swartzberg, one of America's leading infectious-disease specialists, told me yesterday:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 27, 2020
"If I were the #Phillies’ owner, I might test every day for two weeks." https://t.co/bEbWcQ4Cgu
It would be a miracle of no Phillies tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of what happened this weekend, and the MLB season is in serious jeopardy. It was a valiant effort to try and get teams back on the field but, without placing the entire sport in a protective bubble, this was perhaps inevitable.
It would be irresponsible to play any more games this season until the outbreak is contained and, given the fact the game is already just 60 games long (now 57), any stoppage would likely kill the season.
Health and safety is paramount and, at this point, there is no way the league can assure its players, coaches and those surrounding the sport, that they can keep everyone healthy and safe as long as teams are conducting business as usual.
On Episode 402 of Hittin’ Season, I talked at length about this with Justin Klugh and Liz Roscher, obviously before the news of the outbreak broke this morning. We also discussed issues with the Phils’ pitching staff, as well as some things we liked from this weekend, in the hopes the 2020 season will continue.