We're still awaiting an agreement between the MLB and its players to start a shortened 2020 baseball season. One team—the Philadelphia Phillies —just got troubling news on the COVID-19 front, even before a resolution is reached.
The team's spring training facility in Clearwater, Fla. recently started allowing some players back for training. Today, according to a report, five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.
As the cities hit hard early on, like New York, have seen improvements in their numbers, a number of states in the South that reopened early are now seeing pretty drastic spikes. Florida is among them. As noted by NBC Sports Philadelphia, while the franchise has taken precautions in its workouts and other team activities, having players out and about in the greater community presents a significant risk.
Luckily, none of the eight cases reported so far appear to be serious. There are a number of outstanding tests that haven't come back yet, so the outbreak might be worse than we know right now. This can't be good news for those who hope baseball can return soon.
“I’m not trying to scare anyone, but this is real and it spreads quickly and easily and people need to know,” a Phillies staffer said, per the NBC Sports report. The identities of those who tested positive are being protected at this time.
The owners and MLBPA have been haggling on the number of games that will be played if and when the season gets underway. Ownership is looking for a smaller number, in the range of 50 games, and appear set to roundly reject a 70-game proposal by the players.
Of course, COVID-19 remains the biggest threat to a return for baseball, or any other sport this year. Hopefully this outbreak isn't worse than we know, and that everyone who has contracted the disease stays healthy and gets through the next two weeks without issue.