Miami Marlins Postpone Home Opener Due to Coronavirus Outbreak Among Players
The Miami Marlins' home opener has been benched due to an outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
The MLB confirmed the news in a press release, writing, "Tonight’s scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing."
"The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results," the release said. "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."
According to a report from ESPN, an additional eight players and two coaches recently tested positive for COVID-19, raising the recent tally of infections on the squad to at least 14.
Prior to the stint in Philadelphia, the Marlins competed in exhibition games in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Explaining the team's decision to not fly out of Pennsylvania as planned over the weekend, Marlins Manager Don Mattingly said the players and staff "were more comfortable flying as a group later."
"We’re talking about these guys traveling back home to their families and their kids, and it’s the reason we want to be safe," he said, according to the Associated Press, which also noted that shortstop Miguel Rojas said that "we knew this could happen at some point."
"It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things," Mattingly said. "They want how they’re feeling about the situation to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health."
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Florida has emerged as a new hotspot for the coronavirus in the U.S., officially surpassing one-time epicenter New York to become the state with the second-highest official coronavirus case count, just behind California.
According to data compiled by The New York Times, Florida has accounted for 423,847 confirmed cases, as of Monday morning. Despite the surge in numbers, Mattingly said he feels safest at his home field.
"It feels safer in Miami than anywhere," he said. "You feel safe at the ballpark; I feel safe with my surroundings going home. It’s a lot scarier on the road."
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The abbreviated 2020 baseball season kicked off on Thursday night with the New York Yankees at the Washington Nationals' field, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Fauci, 79, was given the big honor for being a "true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career," the Nationals said in a statement earlier in the week.
In his attempt on the big night, Fauci threw a little too far to the outside and tossed the ball in the dirt, later admitting to The Washington Post that "it went in the wrong direction." He said with a laugh, "I joked around after and said I used to be a shortstop when I played ball as a young boy and I thought I was supposed to throw to first base,."
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