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More Cardinals positive COVID-19 tests threaten series, 2020 season

St. Louis CardinalsA second-straight postponement: Tonight’s St. Louis/Milwaukee game at Miller Park has been postponed, as four more members of the Cardinals traveling party have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, while Commissioner Rob Manfred lays out options with players and broadcast partners if the 2020 MLB season is scrapped.

With the additional of the four positives (reportedly three staffers and an additional player), three games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday were all canceled. The Cardinals received the positive results this morning from their hotel quarantine in Milwaukee, but the team has only received partial results, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: additional test results were expected today.

The positive test results certainly complicate the 2020 MLB season schedule, and there’s certainly contingency planning in place. Yesterday Manfred met with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark and warned that the season could be canceled if players and teams didn’t do a better job of COVID-19 mitigation. It was not, according to reporting from Jeff Passan, an acrimonious discussion, but one where alternatives were laid out in an acknowledgement of the reality of a COVID-ridden summer. From ESPN:

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league’s protocols…..

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league’s 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players high-fiving, spitting and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.

Further, there is concern about off-the-field choices, with one high-ranking official saying: “There are some bad decisions being made.”

In addition, Keith Olbermann is reporting that MLB has warned its broadcast partners to prepare contingency broadcast plans should the 2020 MLB season be canceled:

Some players are not waiting for the season to be shut down and instead are walking away:

On the good-news side, no more positive tests were recorded by Philadelphia Phillies players, so Citizens Bank Park will be open for staggered workouts today. In addition, no more positives were reporting among Miami Marlins players in the most recent round of testing.

One more set of positives to report: Texas Rangers broadcaster Matt Hicks and another production member tested positive for COVID-19, which also caused Eric Nadel–considered at risk because of his age–to withdraw from the broadcast booth. Jared Sandler steps in as broadcaster from Globe Life Field; the broadcasters are not calling games on the road.

Dealing with COVID-19 outbursts is happening across all sports that did not adopt a bubble model: besides MLB, USL Championship soccer has been forced to scrap matches due to outbreaks, as have summer-collegiate leagues, including the Coastal Plain League.

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