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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The COVID outbreak plaguing the Miami Marlins is raising questions about the future of the season.
As of Monday morning, 14 players and coaches on the Marlins had tested positive for the virus, prompting the team’s home opener against Baltimore to be postponed.
The Philadelphia Phillies were also forced to postpone their games after recently playing against Miami and potentially being exposed to the virus.
There was concern from the beginning of the shortened season If baseball could fit an entire season into just 60 games and now that players are getting sick, there seems to be even greater concern.
“I think there is a great amount of trepidation within the sport, particularly from the players,” says WCBS 880 Mets broadcaster Howie Rose. “We’ve got a real, real situation on our hands with this season not even being a week old.”
Rose says players may publicly be saying the right thing for the league, but he feels they are personally worrying about their own health – especially when they travel to states that have a large number of cases, such as Florida and California.
“I think universally, they were anxious to play but there has to growing anxiety among the players,” Rose said. “Teams are moving from city to city, they’re flying, they’re staying in hotels, they’re on buses and that just adds to the enormous amount of hesitancy that I think this game has moving forward.”
Rose thinks MLB officials knew a coronavirus outbreak could have been a possibility before starting the shortened season and they need to consider the possibility that the Marlins might have an outbreak today, but another team could have one in the next week.
Dr. David Hirschwerk, of Northwell Health, notes that players in COVID hotspots are at greater risks for contacting the virus.
“Because of how much illness is in the community there's a really high risk that at least one or more players can become infected,” he said.
He thinks some teams might want to move out of high-risk areas, or else the entire season is in trouble.
“If outbreaks like this occur then I think it puts everything into significant jeopardy,” he said.
Rose agrees, and says the MLB needs to consider the health of the players and the risk of them contracting the virus.
“At some point, you have to throw out probability, and numbers, and likelihood, and just use common sense. And, if it seems, that this is not abating or likely to any time soon then it might be in everyone's best interest to take the prudent measure, which is to pull the plug,” Rose said.
He doesn’t think that the sport has reached that point yet, but fans and officials should be prepared if the season needs to end prematurely.