Major League Baseball’s season is not yet two weeks old, but the schedule has been changed multiple times due to COVID-19 cases across the league. As many as 20 members of the Miami Marlins, including 18 players, tested positive for the coronavirus since Opening Day. The Cardinals are the second team dealing with an outbreak, as more than a dozen members of St. Louis’ traveling party, including seven players, tested positive for the coronavirus in the last week-plus. 

The Cardinals were originally set to play Friday against the Cubs in their first game in more than a week. But that three-game series has been postponed after another St. Louis player tested positive.

As of Friday, 24 different MLB games impacting a total of 10 teams had been postponed due to COVID-19 cases.  Here are those postponed games and their original dates:

  • Marlins-Orioles four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
  • Yankees-Phillies four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
  • Marlins-Nationals three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Phillies-Blue Jays three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Brewers-Cardinals three game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Cardinals-Tigers four-game series (Aug. 3-6)
  • Cardinals-Cubs three-game series (Aug. 7-9)

MLB announced an updated schedule for the teams impacted by positive COVID-19 tests on last week. The Marlins returned to the field Tuesday against the Orioles, and the Phillies returned on Monday vs. the Yankees. It’s unclear when the Cardinals will return to the field.

“The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind,” MLB said in a statement earlier this week. “The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts. The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care.”

MLB will try to make up all postponed games later in the season via doubleheaders and eliminating off-days. If it’s not possible, MLB is prepared to allow teams to finish the season with an unequal number of games played, and determine the postseason field with winning percentage, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

That would not be ideal but there is precedent. Teams finished with an unequal number of games around the 1981 strike — some teams played as many as 111 games that season while others played as few as 103 — and the standings were based on winning percentage. In these adverse times, a similar strategy would be warranted this year.

Former Marlins president David Samson weighed in on MLB’s handling of the coronavirus on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:

COVID-19 carries up to a 14-day incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) with a median of five days. 

As for player compensation, the March agreement on prorated salaries only applies to how many games each team is able to play. However, players on teams like the Phillies, Orioles and Nationals will get the full 60 games, even if they are unable to play 60 as a team due to the circumstances here, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. There is no word on the Marlins or Cardinals players, though. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week there was “no reason to quit” the 2020 MLB season and noted the league would move forward.


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