UPDATED: 5:09 p.m.
Just as quickly as the coronavirus-delayed season started, Monday night’s Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park against the Yankees has been postponed, after they played a Marlins team that is reportedly dealing with a bunch of positive COVID-19 cases.
MLB said in a statement:
Manager Joe Girardi’s Phillies still played Miami Sunday, even though there was talk of an outbreak.
“I didn’t catch any wind of it that we weren’t going to play today,” he said. “I think they followed protocol and we just, you know, we played.”
On Saturday, Phils President Andy MacPhail shared his unease on the Phillies Radio Network pregame show.
“What concerns me about our sport is where other sports are choosing to bubble, we’re going to travel,” he said. “Traveling is going to add another layer of complexity to what is already a complex situation.”
Bryce Harper started wearing a mask while on the base.
“They thought that would probably be a good idea just in case one of the other guys hadn’t tested yet,” he said. “We do a great job — of the clubhouse and as an organization — really following protocols and doing everything the right way.”
“We’re always concerned,” Girardi added. “When we do see players from the other team, it’s usually on the field, and outside and there’s usually a lot of distance, so you hope that that protects our club.”
General manager Matt Klentak acknowledged on Sunday that there will likely be instances of outbreaks.
“These are the types of unique circumstances that we all just have to contend with this year, and I hope that the discipline of all players throughout the league and all coaches and everybody throughout the league is going allow us to get through it.”
The Marlins were tested for COVID-19 on Friday. It’s not clear when all the results came in, but one Marlins player said they were texting each other before Sunday’s game, and despite knowing of at least some of the positive cases already, they decided to play anyway.
KYW Newsradio medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough said that’s a huge concern.
“When I was looking in the dugout during the game, I noticed some players wearing masks, some players not wearing masks,” he said. “In the bullpen, people seemed kind of close together.”
McDonough said the decision should have never been made by players in the first place.
“Athletes have a mentality that ‘we play through everything, we’re tough,’ ” he said, “but somebody has to think for them in this case and look down at what that really means if you spread this virus, because it just doesn’t have an impact for the players. It has an impact to the communities they go back to as well.”
Unlike other returning sports, baseball players aren’t in a bubble. And, they travel from city to city to play.
McDonough believes coronavirus scares need to be treated as more than just scares. He thinks Sunday’s game shouldn't have happened, so he’s glad Monday’s Phillies game was postponed.
“If you have players on the Phillies who are infected and then they play the Yankees,” he said, “they’re trying to stop it, which I think is really smart. Contain it at the source.”
Don’t be surprised to see more Phillies games called off this week, he added. An outbreak like this is exactly the kind of thing that can halt an entire season.
The Marlins' Monday and Tuesday night games have now been postponed.