Red Sox season in jeopardy following Marlins COVID-19 outbreak

The Red Sox season is threatened once again by COVID-19.

We made it through one weekend. The outcome was discouraging for a Boston Red Sox club that dropped two out of three at home to the lowly Baltimore Orioles but regardless of the results, it was good to have baseball back. A few games into the season, we’re left to wonder how long that feeling will last.

News trickled out over the weekend about four Miami Marlins players who tested positive for COVID-19. While it was a bit concerning, MLB was prepared for this. A few positive tests wasn’t going to bring the season to a grinding halt. This is why we have expanded rosters to begin the season, to ensure clubs have enough players available even if some are forced into quarantine on short notice.

What happens when the few become the majority? We’re on the verge of finding out.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that eight more Marlins players and two coaches have tested positive for the virus. The outbreak in Miami’s clubhouse has infected at least 12 players from the 30-man roster – that’s nearly half the team! Plus the coaches, who may be at a higher risk due to age.

Any attempt to stubbornly try to push through this setback by moving forward as planned would almost certainly result in more cases. With that in mind, the Marlins have wisely canceled Monday’s home opener against the Orioles. It’s unclear if more games will be canceled, if Miami will be able to host Baltimore for any of this current series or any series at all this year.

Florida is one of the prime hotspots for the coronavirus and some teams were already uneasy about traveling to a state that has been so irresponsible in terms of containing this pandemic. Before we assume it was inevitable that one of the Florida teams would suffer an outbreak, we should note that the Marlins opened the season in Philadelphia.

Now the Phillies must be concerned about their team potentially being at risk after wrapping up a series against a club with so many infected players. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Philadelphia’s next series against the Yankees is in danger of being canceled as players await testing results.

What if there’s an outbreak on another team, potentially threatening another series? This is a slippery slope that could quickly unravel the MLB season.

The outbreak on the Marlins roster highlights the dangers of traveling out of state for a road trip. If you’re still wondering why Canada refused to allow MLB games to be played in Toronto, this is why.

The Red Sox have yet to go on the road this season but that will change soon. At least their first trip is to New York, which is close enough to take a bus. Eventually, if the season continues, they will need to travel by air, including a trip to Tampa Bay next week.

The Marlins are also on Boston’s schedule with a trip to Miami tentatively scheduled for mid-September. That’s assuming the Marlins are able to field a healthy team by that point.

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers adds to Passan’s report by confirming that not all of the infected Marlins players are asymptomatic. While some of these players could return in a couple of weeks after producing a pair of negative tests, others could take much longer while dealing with some serious issues.

Eduardo Rodriguez provides an example of the dangerous side effects that can be caused by this virus. He was cleared to return to the team earlier this month, only to be shut down again following some “minor” complications stemming from his bout with COVID-19. That complication turned out to be myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. A heart condition doesn’t sound minor and Rodriguez admitted that the diagnosis scared him, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Baseball players who are relatively young and in excellent shape aren’t immune to serious symptoms. The ignorant anti-maskers want you to believe that COVID-19 concerns are overblown because “only” one percent of the infected will die from the virus, most of whom are elderly or have pre-existing conditions. That logic, if you want to call it that, completely ignores the number of infected who end up hospitalized, suffer from severe symptoms, or develop long-term heart or lung conditions.

MLB needs to be smart about this threat. We all wanted baseball back but at what cost? Hopefully the Marlins outbreak is an outlier that can be contained quickly but if this is only the beginning, if more teams have similar reports of mass exposure, we have to wonder how much longer this season can last.