Multiple Cardinals players have tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of the club’s most recent tests. The exact number isn’t yet known, though SportsGrid’s Craig Mish (Twitter link) reports “more than five” positive results amongst the players, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that “between four and six” of a “combination of staff and players” tested positive. Former big leaguer Trevor Plouffe tweeted earlier this morning that “at least four” St. Louis players tested positive.
This ominous news indicates that a second team is now in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, following the 20 total reported cases between Marlins players and the club’s coaches and training staff. Yesterday’s Cardinals/Brewers game was postponed due to positive coronavirus tests for two St. Louis players.
The Marlins haven’t played since last Sunday, and it now seems inevitable that the Cardinals will face a similar schedule pause of at least a week following today’s results Aside from the weekend series with the Brewers, the Cards were also set to play the Tigers four times (twice in Detroit, twice in St. Louis) from August 3-6, and then continued the homestand with three games against the Cubs on August 7-9, and three against the Pirates on August 10-12. The Cardinals were also supposed to face the White Sox in the “Field Of Dreams” game in Iowa on August 13 and then have August 14 off before embarking on another long stretch of games, without another off-day until August 27.
The sheer volume of games involved will mean a mass overhaul of not only the Cardinals’ schedule, but the schedules of several other teams. In a best-case scenario (if such a term even applies to this situation), “only” the 10 games against the Brewers, Tigers and Cubs, would have to be reworked if St. Louis is able to resume play next week.
In the bigger picture, however, the Cardinals’ outbreak raises even more serious questions about whether Major League Baseball as a whole can feasibly continue a 2020 season in its current form. With two teams now in outbreak situations after barely more than a week into the season, a wider-scale shutdown (either temporary or otherwise) could be in order. Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told MLBPA executive director Tony Clark that such a halt may be necessary.