CHICAGO – What so many feared could happen during the 2020 Major League Baseball season during the pandemic has taken place in just its first weekend.
The Miami Marlins had an outbreak of COVID-19 in their clubhouse, with 13 members of the team reportedly infected. Because of that, their home opener in Miami against the Orioles has been postponed, and since they were in Philadelphia this weekend, the Phillies’ home game with the Yankees was called off as well.
It’s the scenario which many featured would happen since a number of COVID-19 hotspots still exist in the United States and players are not in a quarantined “bubble” like other sports. As those two games are stopped, the others in the league remain on for now.
That includes a pair of contests for Chicago teams on Monday as the Cubs travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds and the White Sox face the Indians in Cleveland.
David Ross’ club will come face to face with the COVID-19 concerns going around baseball since Reds infielder Matt Davidson tested positive for the virus this weekend. As of Noon on Monday, the game at Great American Ballpark is still on, but first baseman Anthony Rizzo is quite cautious as the team makes its way to Cincinnati.
“Just make sure all the protocols are followed very strictly. Obviously, we can control here and how well all of our Cubs employees and staff have been doing on protocols, and I don’t know how the rest of the league is doing but it’s definitely something to be concerned of,” said Rizzo on Sunday. “If a clubhouse guy went over to their locker room, things like that, making sure that their locker room gets deep cleaned.
“Definitely going to be paying attention to the Tigers now to see if a couple of guys pop positive. A little nervewracking but I’m sure MLB and the Reds will do everything they can to make us feel safe there.”
Adjustments will have to be made for the players on the road since they must limit their contact with others. Rizzo said that he’ll do all his workouts at the park as opposed to the hotel as he’s done in the past, while the rest of the team prepares to get comfortable in a what is essentially a quarantine.
“You have to find a way to feel comfortable, to make that room like a second home,” said Cubs catcher Willson Contreras on Sunday. “You have to find yourself reading a book or do something inside. I know it’s a little weird but we have to make adjustments, we have to do something different to keep our self safe and that’s all I think of. We have to find a way to maintain ourselves inside the room.”
The White Sox will do the same in Cleveland and those teams are likely to play since there have been no recent positive COVID-19 tests on either side. Rick Renteria’s team, unlike the Cubs, have a lengthy stay on the road as they’ll play their next eight games in Cleveland, Kansas City, and Milwaukee.