Phillies players and Staff Test Positive For Covid-19
Another day, another hiccup for the return of baseball in 2020.
The Phillies shut down their Spring Training facility in Clearwater, Florida today after it was revealed that five players and three staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. Eight players have tested negative, and thirty-two other staff and players are awaiting test results. A pitcher on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster is displaying symptoms, and had recently come in contact with some of the Phillies minor league players also at training camp. As a precaution, the Blue Jays have also shut down their Spring Training facility in Dunedin, Florida – just a few miles from the Phillies’ Clearwater camp – until further notice. Should the symptomatic player test positive, there will likely be team-wide testing among the Blue Jays as well.
The announcement of the positive test results comes as Florida is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases and a shortage of ICU beds available. This will more than likely impact how the MLBPA and the owners move forward in the seemingly never-ending negotiations regarding how to start the season. Aside from the number of games and percentage of pay players would receive should the season move forward, one of the biggest issues has been how to keep players and staff safe and healthy during the global pandemic. Korea and Japan have been able to play baseball safely thus far, but these countries also have a better handle on the virus within their borders. The United States has yet to see a significant decline in numbers of positive cases and deaths, so safety precautions are going to be a major factor in whether the season can even start if/when the owners and players finally hammer out a financial deal.
It’s not yet known who the infected players are, or how many of these cases are showing symptoms. As of now, Philadelphia is the only MLB team with an outbreak among players and staff, but this might change as the Blue Jays get results. There had been hopes of having players start getting tested next week in order to begin a second round of spring training on June 26. The league and the MLBPA haven’t yet announced whether the outbreak among the Phillies will affect negotiations, or shut down any hopes of a season. However, depending on what happens with the Blue Jays, we can probably start to put away our fan gear and any hopes we had of salvaging a season out of 2020.