A coronavirus outbreak on the Miami Marlins forced postponement of two games on Monday, calling into question the viability of MLB’s season just one weekend into its long-delayed start.
The Marlins home opener against the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees’ game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia had both been slated to a start a little after 7 p.m. on Monday.
But by late Monday morning, both contests were listed as “postponed” by MLB.
“Tonight’s scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing,” MLB said in a statement.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said his entire team underwent another round of testing on Monday and cancellation of the Orioles game was their only reasonable option.
“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus,” the former Yankees shortstop Jeter said in a statement on Monday.
Jeter’s statement did not disclose how many players or staffers had tested positive.
“The guys that tested positive are quarantined here in Philly,” Miami manager Don Mattingly told reporters after the Marlins finished their three-game series in Philadelphia on Sunday.
MLB teams generally fly charter immediately after finishing a set in one city, but the Marlins chose to stay put in Philadelphia.
“We were more comfortable flying as a group later,” Mattingly said. “We’re talking about these guys traveling back home to their families and their kids, and it’s the reason we want to be safe.”
The MLB season had been set to start on March 26, with teams ready to play 162 games, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the United States. A truncated 60-game schedule, played in empty ballparks, just got underway this past Thursday.
“It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things,” Mattingly said. “They want how they’re feeling about the situation to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health.”
A rep for the MLB Players Association declined comment on Monday.
The NFL is less than two months from the start of its 2020 regular season kickoff, but the resumption of play is far from certain.
“This weekend my family and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Sugarman said in a statement. He holds multiple titles with the team, including head athletic trainer, vice president of sports medicine and infection control officer.
“We immediately quarantined and began to follow the established protocols. At this time we are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms.”