On Sunday ahead of the Miami Marlins’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins found out that starting pitcher Jose Urena would not be available to play. According to multiple outlets, including ESPN and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Urena had tested positive for Covid-19. The Marlins did not announce any positive tests publicly on Sunday.
The Marlins went on to win the game, 11-6. After the game, in a video call with reporters, Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas said Sunday that players had decided to play the game following a group chat.
“We made the decision that we’re going to continue to do this and we’re going to continue to be responsible and just play the game as hard as we can,” Rojas said.
As of Monday, 11 Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for coronavirus, ESPN reported. The results came in after the team played a three-game series against the Phillies. The team planned to remain in Philadephia as it awaited a new round of test results, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said Monday.
Three games were postponed as a result of the positive cases. The Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees game at the Philadelphia Phillies, both scheduled for Monday night, have been postponed, MLB said. In an interview on MLB Network, Manfred said the Marlins will not play their game on Tuesday in Miami, either.
A reporter followed up with Rojas Sunday, asking if in that group chat there was a discussion Sunday morning that maybe they should not play that day.
“That was never the mentality,” Rojas replied. “We knew this could happen at some point. We came to the ballpark and were ready to play. It was never a thought that we weren’t going to play.”
After the game, Marlins manager Don Mattingly was asked if it had been considered at all on Sunday morning to not play the game because of the situation. The reporter asking the question did not reference positive Covid-19 tests.
“You never really considered not playing from my standpoint,” Mattingly said. “We’re taking risks every day. Every day we’re taking risks so that’s what the players all around the league are doing. You know you travel all the time. You know it started with this road trip, you’re traveling. You’re in planes, you’re in buses, you’re in different hotels. It’s a risk that we take and I just think we have to, I’m going all the back to Michael Hill, who told us early on we’re going to have to be adjustable. We’re going to have to be flexible. We’re going to have to be patient. We’re going to have to set ourselves up to have to deal with a lot and different scenarios. So we’re getting tested early, hopefully we’re not getting tested later. Hopefully, we can pass this test.”
Mattingly, who acknowledged Sunday the team planned to leave Philadelphia on Monday morning instead of Sunday, was asked why not playing was not a consideration.
“You look at scenarios, could we have played it at a different time of the year,” Mattingly said. “You know, and our guys make the decision, right? And maybe it was a discussion but the conclusion they came to was that we’re taking chances every day. I think it was more about the flight and kinda seeing where we’re at before we fly.”
Like baseball, the NFL plans to begin its season at teams’ regular home stadiums. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in an open letter Monday that preseason games were canceled.
Other sports leagues are reopening with their teams in so-called “bubbles” to try to limit interactions with the outside world.
The WNBA tipped off its season on Saturday at IMG Academy in Florida, the NBA is set to restart its season later this week in a bubble at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando and the NHL is planning to restart with dual bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton. In Utah, the NWSL Challenge Cup wrapped up Sunday, with the Houston Dash winning the title.