The biggest story that was expected to come out of the Nationals' and Astros' shared Spring Training home was supposed to be how the tension mounted between the two teams amid the raging cheating scandal that flipped MLB on its side. Now, a much more important story line is causing the ballpark to be a part of not only sports news but general news as a whole.
The FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, the stadium complex used for both teams' Spring Training games, will be used as a drive-through COVID-19 testing center, a decision that was confirmed by Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo on Monday.
The massive 160-acre complex will be able to test up to 250 people each day, according to WPBF News. While baseball is delayed indefinitely, the usage of this complex will allow results to be uncovered much more efficiently and put the large space to use during the nation-wide baseball hiatus. Another Washington team, the Redskins, has taken a similar action with their home stadium.
Fortunately, there have not been any known Nationals or Astros players to test positive for the illness. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo mentioned that no players have even demonstrated any symptoms of the virus and as a result no one within the organization has been tested (via NBC Sports Washington).
The Yankees have announced a pair of Minor League players that tested positive for the virus and the Cubs announced that some employees had as well, but relative to other leagues like the NBA, baseball has been relatively untouched by the rapidly spreading illness. Retired star Jim Edmonds shared a video of his condition after a positive coronavirus test, as well.
While a return date for baseball has not yet been established, there are several different ideas being proposed for how the league should handle the situation. Already, the league and the MLB Player's Association have come to an agreement about how certain terms should be handled if the season is canceled altogether.
For now, it's all speculation. But seeing as how important baseball facilities are now being used as testing centers, a long postponement could be what baseball fans will ultimately have to face.