Last Updated on June 19, 2020
As if MLB needed any more bad news, five Philadelphia Phillies tested positive for coronavirus according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly. Three staff members also tested positive and to top it off, dozens of players and staff are awaiting test results. This outbreak doesn’t bode well for baseball in 2020.
“In response to published reports and the questions that those reports have raised, the Phillies are confirming that 5 players and 3 staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for Covid-19,” the team said in a statement.
“The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16. In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.”
What The Means For Baseball In 2020
An outbreak of coronavirus amongst players and staffers is the last thing MLB needed right now. The league and MLBPA are still trying to reach an agreement on how many games to play in 2020 and what the financials will look like in a shortened season. The back and forth between the two sides has not been encouraging.
This outbreak among the Phillies could be a major blow to the 2020 season. The team declined to comment on how this outbreak would affect the 2020 season. This brings up a major question that no one seems to be asking: What happens if a massive outbreak runs through one locker room? Of course, the idea of a “taxi squad” to fill in for injured and sick players, but would teams continue to play if 10, 15, or even 20 guys on a roster test positive for coronavirus?
Cases are skyrocketing in Arizona, Texas, Florida (where the Phillies’ Clearwater facility is located), and many other states. MLB could try to move games into a “bubble” or a “hub” city like the NBA and NHL are trying to do, but that just adds another wrinkle to the tense negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA.
The Phillies are conducting as much contact tracing as they can, but the reality is they have no idea yet how big this outbreak is, not when at least 32 tests are still pending: https://t.co/XCIC9BHiWx
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 19, 2020
The Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday shut down their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., after a player exhibited COVID-19 symptoms, sources tell ESPN.
Dunedin is just up the road from Clearwater, where eight people in the Philadelphia Phillies organization tested positive.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 19, 2020