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Orioles-Marlins game scrapped after COVID-19 outbreak

Miami Marlins 2019Tonight’s Baltimore Orioles/Miami Marlins game at Marlins Park canceled after an outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases among Marlins players over the weekend, according to Orioles GM Mike Elias.

According to ESPN, 14 Marlins–including two coaches–tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, causing three starters to be pulled from Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.

The cancelation was confirmed by Elias.

Per MLB’s COVID-19 mitigation protocols, the Marlins team will be quarantined in Philadelphia while further testing is performed, though there is the chance that players posting negative results will be transported separately to Miami. After a positive test players can’t travel or access ballpark facilities until they register two negative tests 24 hours or more apart, show no symptoms like fever for 72 hours, be subjected to an antibody test and, finally, be cleared by the team doctor and an MLB COVID-19 official.

The positive test results underscore the danger for MLB operating in Florida, which surpassed New York this weekend as recording the second-most COVID-19 cases in the United States, totaling some 423,855 COVID-19 cases, second only to the 445,400 recorded in California.

There’s a little irony in that the Baltimore Orioles are already in Florida and operating in what’s basically a quarantine, while the Marlins are (for the moment, anyway) stuck in Philadelphia.

A team outbreak of this extent is MLB’s worst nightmare, especially when it came after what many would call a very successful Opening Weekend. MLB and the players association made the decision to not operate the season on a quarantine basis, unlike the NBA and MLS, both of which are playing under carefully controlled circumstances at a single site. But it’s hard to say whether the current circumstances are worse than a plan to play in Florida, Texas and Arizona, either; the three are among the hottest spots for COVID-19 infections in the United States.

UPDATE: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter issued the following statement: “The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters. 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. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”

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