After defeating the Red Sox in a 2-1 Opening Series victory, the Baltimore Orioles were scheduled to take the Miami Marlins to inaugurate Marlins Park for the 2020 season.
But in an unsurprising move, the Baltimore Orioles game at Marlins Park and the Yankees game in Philadelphia are both postponed due to several Marlins players testing positive for COVID-19.
As of publication, the latest news is that the Marlins have at least 14 players and coaches who have tested positive for COVID-19. According to Jon Heyman in a July 26 (Sunday afternoon) Tweet, several of the players are starters:
Sources: Marlins new positives include Cooper and Ramirez in addition to Urena, plus Alfaro had been positive. So they’ve now lost their starting RF, DH/1B and C in addition to one of their better pitchers. @ByRobertMurray 1st on some names
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 26, 2020
News about the Marlins positive tests and whether they knew during the Phillies series is still a concern for fans and players. None of the players in Heyman’s Tweet played on Sunday. Harold Ramirez and Garrett Cooper played on Friday and Saturday.
Regardless of rumors and speculation, teams are traveling back to their home bases, but with concerns. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic shared this Tweet about the teams, with a subtle tone of concern:
So, the Orioles are leaving Miami, a hot spot, and won’t be quarantined.
The Atlanta Braves, where the Marlins may or may not have contracted COVID-19, are playing in Tampa tonight.
The Yankees are holed up in a Philly hotel.
The Marlins are also still in Philly.
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) July 27, 2020
In the sub-thread of the Tweet, Ghiroli shared what people are thinking: Where is Rob Manfred? Why hasn’t he made a statement?
Without substantial contract tracing, the actual location where the Marlins contracted the virus is unknown. Both Miami and Atlanta are known hotspots for the virus, but the Marlins hadn’t been in Miami since July 20. The team played its exhibition games in Atlanta. After that, the Marlins traveled to Philadelphia and the Braves took two from the New York Mets.
Seeing how quickly the virus spread through the Marlins, it might not be long before Phillies, Mets, and Braves players also have positive tests.
This begs another question: What’s next for the Eastern Division?
The answer could be in the off-sight players and in a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal:
Marlins have claimed RHP Justin Shafer from Reds, who had designated him for assignment, source tells The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2020
With almost half of the team forced to sit out for two weeks, if the Marlins expect to play, they will need extra players. There are 33 players who are traveling with the team with the 30-man roster and 3 taxi players.
This leaves the Orioles without a game and possibly an entire two-game series, before their home opener – against the Marlins – on July 30. Who knows how many more players will have tested positive by this time. And, reports from several sources claim that not all of the Marlins are asymptomatic.
So, should the season continue? Is it time to shut down all of the eastern teams for two weeks, to quarantine everyone? Will more players opt out? Rob Manfred needs to make a decision.
It’s a sad situation all the way around, especially if any family members, hotel workers, or other people in the periphery get sick. And, it’s only Monday, Birdland.