With the the Nationals, Marlins, Phillies, and Blue Jays already sidelined due to the Marlins coronavirus outbreak, we have more bad news: tonight’s game between the Cardinals and the Brewers has been postponed with “multiple” Cardinals having tested positive for COVID-19. Various reports indicate that more than one positive tests on the St. Louis roster prompted the postponement. We don’t yet have confirmation of exactly how many positives have popped up, though The Athletic’s Mark Saxon has indicated two Cardinals have been infected.
This, obviously, will represent another very fluid situation. MLB’s protocols have been in constant flux almost from the word “Go”. The league was forced to make hard decisions when Juan Soto tested positive hours before Opening Day, and subsequently made a number of alterations to its plans when several Marlins tested positive over opening weekend. Expect the league to continue making things up on the fly when it comes to this case with the Cardinals and Brewers.
As such, the league reportedly plans to continue with the Cardinals-Brewers series tomorrow should there be an adequately small number of positive tests today. This sounds a bit shocking, after the league’s decision to allow the Marlins to play last Sunday after four confirmed positive tests immediately backfired. If there’s any potential for there to be an outbreak in the Cards’ clubhouse (which there certainly seems to be!), sending the other Cardinals back out onto the field appears reckless.
Regardless of whether this turns out to be a full-scale outbreak, or a couple of “isolated” cases, this incident paints a stark picture of the league’s naivety in the face of the Marlins situation. As it became apparent that Miami’s outbreak may have singularly impacted the Marlins, many expressed relief, as the virus was “contained” to that one team:
Turns out, the Marlins are alone in their outbreak. A relief. https://t.co/qdThEWG3Hc— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 28, 2020
It’s a sentiment echoed here by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, as he draws a distinction between teams in the East and Midwest, as if both areas don’t contain hot spots, and aren’t both a part of the same country failing to curtail viral spread:
Positive coronavirus tests with the St. Louis Cardinals have postponed their game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a source tells ESPN, confirming the @jonheyman report. Unclear how many, but to this point positives had been limited to teams in the East. Now in the Central, too.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2020
We’ve seen this cycle of relief and infection throughout the United States’ futile attempt to combat the pandemic. The virus pops up somewhere far away, people remark “Thank God it’s over there, and not here”, only to watch it spread time and again. If the virus can take down the Marlins, and infect the Cardinals, it has the potential to infiltrate each and every of the league’s thirty clubs.
Based on the league’s belated decision to shut down the Marlins, it’s hard to see why they shouldn’t shut down the Cardinals right now. If two clubs suffer outbreaks in two weeks, it’s hard to see why the sport shouldn’t shut down right now. The Yankees travel back to the Bronx tonight, to take on the rival Red Sox starting at 7:05 EST.