It’s been a wild ride for baseball throughout the coronavirus pandemic. While the NBA and NHL had to hit pause in the middle of their seasons, baseball hadn’t even started yet. Now they’ll get going on Thursday, July 23rd, and play a 60-game season. This COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them quite significantly, though, so let’s take a look back on how they’ve battled with it.
Cardinals’ Positive Tests Rise, Series with Tigers Postponed
#STLCards president John Mozeliak: "It's hard to think about the future when you're literally just trying to get through the day.'' All of the players/staff members who have tested positive are now back home in St. Louis.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 3, 2020
Also, I can now confirm at least eight positives. Of those, six are players. One source said the number is 13. https://t.co/4x1nDC5Q5s
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 3, 2020
Cardinals-White Sox game at Field of Dreams next Thursday in Dyersville, Iowa cancelled, sources tell The Athletic. Reasoning not believed to be tied to additional positive tests on Cardinals. More a logistical problem.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 3, 2020
Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes Opts-Out of 2020 After Failing to Show for Game
The New York Mets had an adventurous early Sunday. First, they posted they had no idea where slugger Yoenis Cespedas was prior to their game with The Atlanta Braves. Then, they said he was safe. And, to complete the circle, he was out … as in opting-out of the 2020 season. And to complete the miserable day, the Mets were blanked by the Braves.
Report: Latest Round of Cardinals’ COVID-19 Tests ‘Not Good’
Jeff Passan of ESPN is plugged in so when he posts a tweet like this MLB should be on the alert:
The latest round of coronavirus tests from the St. Louis Cardinals are, in the words of someone with the team, "not good." There are expected to be multiple new positives, sources tell ESPN. Cardinals took more tests this morning, and results of those should arrive by tonight.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2020
Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain Opts-Out
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 1, 2020
In related events, the Cardinals and Brewers will not be playing baseball on the weekend. The doubleheader scheduled for Sunday has also been postponed.
Cardinals Players Test Positive
The St. Louis Cardinals were scheduled for an afternoon game with the Milwaukee Brewers. Not happening. Two players tested positive and the Cardinals instructed all players and staff to self-isolate in their hotel rooms in Milwaukee until further notice.
Marlins Infected Players Taking Long Bus Trip
Those Miami Marlins players who have been stuck in Philadelphia after testing positive are going to feel like they are back in the minor leagues. The 20 will be taking a bus trip from Philadelphia to South Beach.
Welcome to 7-Inning Games During Doubleheaders
Pretty soon fans won’t recognize baseball with all the alterations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest was an agreement between MLB and the MLBP to reduce games during doubleheaders to seven innings apiece. Oh, and if you were concerned should such game go to extra innings, there would be a runner on second to start the eighth inning.
Nick Markakis Decides to Return to Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves got a boost Wednesday with the decision by Nick Markakis to return to the team after opting-out of the 2020 MLB season. “Sometimes, we all make rash decisions that are not thought out thoroughly,” Markakis said. “Sitting at home, watching these guys compete … and all the risks they’re going through going out there, in the pit of my stomach I felt I wanted to be out there.” Markakis, the first MLB player to return after opting out, hit .285 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in 2019. He was an All-Star in 2018.
Marlins Outbreak Creates Major Issues, Chaos in MLB
The COVID-19 outbreak among the Miami Marlins has led to a number of issues. The most pressing — and intriguing is a report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that the Washington Nationals have voted against going to Miami for an upcoming series. And in further Marlins news: Miguel Rojas has tested positive. He is off to a sizzling start, hitting .700, whatever that means after such a minimal number of at-bats.
MLB statement… pic.twitter.com/zJ681SwLsp
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2020
Marlins Outbreak Leads to MLB Postponing Games
The Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles is off, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies‘ home game against the New York Yankees set for Monday have been postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak with Miami. An outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 13. “The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” MLB said in a statement. “Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.”
The Marlins released a statement on behalf of CEO Derek Jeter.
“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters,” he said. “After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation.”
MLB Updates July 24
Blue Jays Will Play Home Schedule in Buffalo
Big news out of Toronto as the wandering Blue Jays seem to have finally found a home for the shortened 2020 MLB season. They will be playing in Buffalo’s Shalen Field, which normally plays host to the team’s Triple-A affiliate. The team was frozen out of Canada because of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field,” club president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement on the team’s website. “This process has no doubt tested our team’s resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses – we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect.” The Blue Jays’ home opener is July 29 against the Washington Nationals.
MLB Updates July 23
Nationals’ Soto Tests Positive for COVID-19
The Washington Nationals hit a major hiccup as they were about to start their season against the New York Yankees. Outfielder Juan Soto tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss the game. General Manager Mike Rizzo said that Soto was asymptomatic and that no one else on the roster was deemed ineligible following contact tracing. Soto needs two negative tests before he can return to the field.
MLB Updates July 16
Major League Pushes Back Opening Day On March 12th
Everything was going swimmingly in the middle of March as many people figured we’d still be playing baseball in the spring. Things turned a bit sour when Major League Baseball pushed back Opening Day on March 12th, which was slated to begin on March 26th. Many people figured it would be temporary but the season won’t actually start until July 23rd, which means the league will have missed four months of action.
Players, Owners Squabble Over Money
COVID-19 pandemic started to recede and major sports around the world started to make their way back, MLB was mired in a labor dispute. In what couldn’t have been worse timing, the players and owners started squabbling over how many games should be played and who was going to earn how much.
Originally, players and owners came to an agreement in March that if the season was to continue – at any point – players’ salaries would be prorated. That meant if they played 81 games, they’d be entitled to half of their salaries. However, owners – at the time – were under the impression that the games would have fans, which would bring in a lot of revenue. Now it’s come to light that fans won’t be included, which is why owners wanted to renegotiate.
At any rate, we settled on a 60-game season with teams playing 10 games apiece against their four divisional foes and then playing the remaining 20 against interleague opponents. Both leagues will feature a designated hitter and the playoff format remains the same.
58 Players Test Positive In Initial Testing
As we’ve moved through the summer, more and more players have found themselves testing positive to COVID-19. A whopping 58 players reported positive for COVID-19 when teams reported for their “summer camps.” There were also eight staffers who tested positive. Good news is that was from a sample of 3,748 test, so the positive rate is not high and nobody has reported any bad symptoms. 13 more players and four more staff have tested positive this week. Hopefully, nobody experiences any vicious symptoms and we can move through the season without too many COVID-19 absences.
Umpires Sit Out
Almost a dozen of the 76 full-time MLB umpires have decided to sit this shortened season out. Any umpires deemed to be at-risk will still be paid. This will give Triple-A umpires a chance to gain experience as some of them will get to fill in those spots. MLB and their umpires reached a deal that means all umpires will be paid 37.5% of their salaries if even one regular-season game is played.
2020 Season Starts On July 23
The 2020 baseball season will get underway on July 23rd. While it’s been a long wait, we should be in for a fantastic start to the season. The defending champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees and the pitching matchup will feature Max Scherzer going up against the Yankees new stud Gerrit Cole.
While the Yankees-Nationals games will start at 7:08 PM ET, the late game will feature the San Francisco Giants visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers. The full Opening Day will come on Friday, July 24th when all 30 teams will be in action.