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No current plans for suspending season, per MLB commissioner

Although three Major League Baseball games have already been postponed due a team’s outbreak of COVID-19, there has not been any serious consideration of canceling or suspending the season by the league, according to baseball’s commissioner.

Rob Manfred said “there wasn’t really” any discussion about suspending the season after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Marlins personnel. (Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA / CC BY)

“No, there really wasn’t [any discussion],” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday to MLB Network‘s Tom Verducci when asked if the league owners had discussed the possibility of the season being put on hiatus. “We talked about the situation.

“I think most of the owners realize that we built protocols anticipating that we would have positive tests at some point during this season, that the protocols were built in order to allow us to continue to play through those positives and I think there was support for the notion that we believe that the protocols are adequate to keep our players safe.”

This interview with Manfred came after multiple Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend and on Monday morning. As a result, the Marlins’ games against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday and Tuesday have been postponed. The Philadelphia Phillies — who played the Marlins this past weekend — had their game against the New York Yankees postponed Monday as well.

The Marlins had members of their team test positive throughout the weekend, including three before Sunday’s game against the Phillies. However, games were not canceled until even more positive tests came on Monday. Manfred said that the game Sunday was still allowed to go as scheduled because the Marlins had followed the guidelines as outlined by MLB protocols.

“What then happened [after receiving Sunday’s positive tests] under the protocols was we did contact tracing on all four positives,” Manfred said. “There was a small number of players who met the CDC guidelines [for being considered exposed]. They were quarantined. We ordered additional testing. We did symptom checks. We did temperature tests. And decided to proceed with the game on Sunday.”

Still, MLB protocols did not stop players from testing positive for COVID-19 and potentially spreading the virus before they received their testing results. More Marlins tested positive after Sunday’s game. Those players were in close quarters with Phillies players on the field, leading to the postponement of games for both teams.

Before these two teams can get back on the field, the league will need to receive additional tests results. The commissioner said that he expects to know more about the situation on Tuesday.

“I expect that we will have an initial set of test results late, late tonight, and I think you’ll have an update tomorrow as to how we expect to proceed, beyond the days that I mentioned already,” he said Monday, referring to the the possibility for the Marlins to play in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.

Manfred said there are some situations that could cause a suspension in the league’s play. He mentioned a “health threat” across the entire league or a single team becoming “completely noncompetitive” due to players being unable to play as potential reasons for stopping the season.

But at this point, Manfred still believes that these situations are not likely, and that the MLB season will finish as scheduled.

“We expected we were going to have positives at some point in time,” Manfred said. “I remain optimistic that the protocols are strong enough. That it will allow us to play — even through an outbreak like this — and complete our season.”


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