Major League players are fleeing Venezuela

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This, from a couple of days ago, is sad. The situation in Venezuela has deteriorated precipitously in recent years –both in terms of politics and in terms of basic public safety — to the point where baseball players don’t feel safe there anymore and are leaving their home country and moving to the United States full time:

Uncomfortable with the rampant crime in the country with the second-highest homicide rate in the world last year, [Miguel] Montero renewed his passport in his native Caracas and hurried back to the USA, feeling terrible for the family members and countrymen he left behind.

“I would go from the place where I was trying to get my passport to the house and back. That’s it,” Montero said. “You want to go to your country to relax and have a good time, not to be shut inside your house because you’re afraid to go out. … There are safety concerns anywhere in the world, but you watch the news about Venezuela and more people have been killed there than in Afghanistan.”

We’ve long noted the kidnappings, with Wilson Ramos’ kidnapping chief among them. But simply walking down the street in Venezuela has gotten dangerous. It’s a sad, sad situation.

Cardinals-White Sox opener pushed back to Saturday

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CHICAGO — St. Louis’ series opener against the Chicago White Sox has been postponed to Saturday, giving the Cardinals an extra day to recover from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cardinals, who haven’t played since July 29, were set to resume their season Friday night in Chicago. But the series opener was pushed back to a straight doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, the beginning of an extended stay in the Windy City for the Cards.

There was no word from Major League Baseball on the postponement, but John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, confirmed the move in a conference call with reporters. Mozeliak also said the team is going to play doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after the NL Central rivals had a series postponed last weekend.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation also confirmed the postponement of the series opener against the White Sox. The people spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because MLB had not announced the schedule change.

The Cardinals’ season has been derailed by the coronavirus. Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Paul DeJong are among the players who have tested positive.

St. Louis, the defending NL Central champions, has played just five games, winning two. It seems unlikely that it will be able to make up every one of its games that have been postponed during the pandemic-delayed season.

While announcing Sunday night that St. Louis’ series against Pittsburgh had been postponed, MLB said the league and the Cardinals believed it was “prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play.”