On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that they would be canceling the Milwaukee Brewers home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals due to a positive COVID-19 test. The person who tested positive was apart of the Cardinals organization, and there was no announcement if they were a player or apart of the coaching staff. The Cardinals played the Twins earlier this week.
With the Brewers and Cardinals canceling the home opener, this now leaves six MLB teams not playing on Friday because of coronavirus outbreaks. There is a possibility however that the Cardinals and Brewers can play the remainder of their weekend series if every player and coach on the Cardinals tests negative.
COVID-19 Spread in the MLB
Baseball could not get through a weekend without coronavirus affecting the season. On Monday, the MLB announced that the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles game would be canceled as the coronavirus broke out within the ball club. They played the Philadelphia Phillies the first weekend back.
The issue became worse as the Marlins had multiple positive cases on Sunday, and decided to play their game exposing the Phillies. The MLB shut the Marlins and Phillies down for the whole week. This force MLB to change the schedule by having the New York Yankees travel to Baltimore to play the Orioles instead.
The outbreak and scheduling then had a ripple effect with the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays. The Nationals were supposed to travel to Miami this weekend, and Toronto was expected the play the Phillies. Now, the MLB has two teams that have only played three games, which becomes a more significant issue since the season is only 60 games.
On Friday, the coronavirus spread into the Central Division and has now affected the Brewers and Cardinals series, potentially shutting both teams down for three games. The Cardinals were in Minnesota during the week to play the Twins. This now puts into question whether the Twins were exposed to the virus, or not, which could ripple into the Central Division depending on how the Cardinals test on Friday.
Will the Season Go On?
As of writing this, there are still no talks of postponing the MLB season. Now with possible altercations in the East and Central Divisions, this could get out of hand if the MLB cannot come up with a better coronavirus protocol.
A team suffered an outbreak after three games of the MLB season, which looks terrible for the MLB. Now, a week later and six teams are affected by COVID, and could expand based on what happens with the Cardinals.
Sports betting on baseball futures is going to be a mess if outbreaks continue to happen, and teams have a big discrepancy in how many games they play. Sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings need teams to play at least 58 games for teams win totals to count.
Also, there are going to be playoff implications if teams do not play the same amount of games. Tiebreakers for playoff spots could come down to percentage points the way the season is going. What happens if a team makes the playoffs because they are .03 higher because the other team played five extra games?
MLB player safety is number one during all of this, but if teams continue to have entire weeks off because of positive cases, then there are big questions the MLB will have to ask themselves whether it is safe or not.