Manfred Warns MLB Season Could Shut Down If Outbreaks Continue

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  • MLB warned MLB Players’ Association that season could be shut down if another outbreak occurs
  • Marlins have had 21 positive COVID-19 cases, while the Cardinals have had a handful of positive tests over the past two days
  • Marlins, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers, and Orioles have already had games postponed as a result of positive tests

On Friday, word came out that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred warned the MLB Players’ Association that more COVID-19 outbreaks among teams could cause the league to pull the plug on the 2020 season prematurely. The Miami Marlins have been forced to shut down operations for nearly a full week amid a full-blown outbreak, while the St. Louis Cardinals have since had multiple members of the team test positive for the coronavirus.

However, on Saturday Manfred tried to walk back the report. In an interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred said “there is no reason to quit now” with the season already over a week old. This despite the fact that the league has already had to postpone 17 games in a span of 10 days since the season began on July 23.

Manfred said, “We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”

Manfred Warned MLBPA

The comments came after Manfred and the league decided to postpone Saturday’s game between the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers. Friday’s game between the same teams was also called off after at least one Cardinals player tested positive.

Manfred reportedly warned Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if players don’t do a better job of following safety precautions, the league could shut down the rest of the campaign. While a handful of Cardinals players and staff have tested positive, the Marlins have had 21 positive tests.

One Marlins player, second baseman Isan Diaz, decided to opt-out of the season. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain did the same thing on Saturday, citing the best interests of his family.

No New Cases for Marlins Saturday

However, the Marlins did say that Saturday brought no new positive tests, and MLB is currently planning for the team to return to action on Tuesday with a game against the Baltimore Orioles. The plan is to have the teams play four games between Tuesday and Thursday, which would necessitate at least one doubleheader. The games will be played in Baltimore, but the Marlins will be the honorary home team for two of the games after their originally-scheduled series in Miami last week was put on hold.

The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, whose four-game series from last week was postponed, will play a four-game series between New York and Philadelphia from Monday through Thursday. The Phillies have been out of action since last Sunday after playing a weekend series with the Marlins as a precaution. However, no members of the organization have tested positive for the virus.

Season Could Be On The Brink

Manfred does have the power to shut down the season if another team endures an outbreak. Multiple players reportedly told ESPN that the season could be called off as soon as Monday if more players start to test positive. The Marlins’ outbreak reportedly came on the heels of multiple members of the team going to a bar in Atlanta shortly before the season began.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said that MLB warned its broadcast partners to have alternative programming ready in case the league has to end the season early.

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Taylor Smith / Author

Taylor is a sports writer based in Southern California. While he primarily specializes in basketball, baseball and football, he will also dabble in things like soccer and politics from time to time. He has lived in just about every corner of the United States at one point or another, and he has been covering sports and sports betting for the better part of a decade. Taylor currently lives in Long Beach with his fiancé and their two cats.