Craig Mish reports that “more than five” St. Louis Cardinals players and/or staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
Yesterday the Cardinals-Brewers game was postponed due to two positive tests. With more than seven now, there is no way the Cardinals can field a team or responsibly play, so assume the entire Cardinals-Brewers series will be postponed. UPDATE: tonight’s game is postponed. See below for additional schedule alterations and updates regarding the Cardinals, Brewers, Phillies, Marlins, and other teams.
This news comes less than an hour after reports that the Miami Marlins had no new positive tests, keeping their number at 18. it also comes after the Phillies announced that they had no new positives either. While it’s hard to draw any hard and fast conclusions from all of that, there is a strong suggestion that cross-team infection — say, between the Marlins and the Phillies — might be a smaller concern than expected (at least one of the infected Phillies was the visiting clubhouse attendant for the Marlins and was in close proximity with them). The Marlins’ and now the Cardinals’ examples, however, suggest that once a team starts getting infections its own roster can be quickly ravaged.
Which shines the light not on the activity of playing baseball, which may not entail a super high risk but, rather, on the protocols surrounding travel, housing, clubhouse deportment, etc., to which individual teams are subject.
Yesterday Rob Manfred pointed the finger at player behavior, saying that they have to shape up or else risk the season being cancelled, but it’s not at all clear yet whether those protocols are sufficient in and of themselves, whether players simply did not properly adhere to them, or whether it was some combination of the two. There is a suggestion that the Marlins acted irresponsibly, but that may not apply to all of their infections. We have no idea yet what may have caused the St. Louis Cardinals outbreak.
All we know for now is that yet another team, and its immediate opponents, stand to be idled for an extended period of time. And that the very viability of the 2020 baseball season is in serious doubt.
UPDATE, 3:29 PM: Major League Baseball has issued a press release further elaborating on the Cardinals positive tests and laying out the schedule, to the extent it’s able to do so, for the coming days. What follows is the latest information the league is providing.
St. Louis Cardinals: After two Cardinals tested positive on Friday, the entire team was tested in Milwaukee using a rapid COVID-19 test in addition to the normal saliva samples which were sent to the MLB laboratory. The rapid tests indicated that one additional Cardinals player and multiple staff members may be positive. The MLB saliva test results are not yet back.
Philadelphia Phillies: Three Phillies staff members have tested positive since the Marlins series last weekend but no players have. MLB’s press release says, “it appears that two of those individuals’ tests were false positives, and it is unclear if the third individual contracted COVID-19 from Marlins players and staff based on the timing of the positive test.” MLB does not say how it knows they are false positives. The Phillies are scheduled to resume play against the Yankees in New York on Monday. It will be a four-game home-and-home series beginning with two games at Yankee Stadium on Monday, August 3rd and Tuesday, August 4th, followed by two games at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, August 5th and Thursday, August 6th.
Miami Marlins: The Marlins’ remaining players and staff have been quarantining in Philadelphia since Sunday and have not engaged in any baseball or other activities. The Marlins reported no new positive test results in Friday’s sample collections. The current plan is for the Marlins to resume play against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday in Baltimore where they will play a four-game series from Tuesday, August 4th through Thursday, August 6th with one day including a doubleheader. The Marlins will be the home team for two games.
- The originally scheduled game between the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday, August 6th will be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, August 8th. The remainder of their four-game series on Friday and Sunday will remain as scheduled;
- The Marlins and Orioles, who were originally scheduled to play four games against one another this past week, will reschedule that series at a later date, as will the originally scheduled game between the Yankees and Orioles on August 5th.
MLB concluded by saying it will “continue to follow a conservative approach in addressing positive test results because the health and safety of our players, employees and the public at large is paramount. We are in daily contact with the Players Association, public health officials, and our own medical experts in order to make decisions that will best protect individuals from being exposed to COVID-19. We will continue to provide further scheduling updates as necessary.”
So that’s where we are.