The Miami Marlins are pausing their season after a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, a potential harbinger of doom for the MLB season.
After a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, Miami Marlins reporter Craig Mish announced via Twitter that the team will pause its season to contain its coronavirus cases and protect the health and safety of players and coaches.
While many fans saw this as an indictment of the organization, it has also exposed the deep-seated cracks in the MLB‘s return-to-play plan. After opting not to use a bubble like the NBA or NHL, the league took a major risk, which now appears to have backfired.
With teams afraid to play the Marlins due to the risk of coronavirus transmission, this decision is not necessarily surprising. Especially considering the extent of the outbreak in Florida, travel outside of a bubble format poses risk.
It’s unclear at this point what Miami pausing its season will mean for the teams slated to face them. Games could potentially be postponed to a later date, but an extended pause could interfere with the postseason schedule. Per USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the hiatus figures to last at least a week.
Even if the pause lasts just a few days, it is unlikely that the Marlins will be the only team to experience such an outbreak. Travel presents risk, and the lack of a sterile, bubble environment appears to be a bad decision.
The NFL will likely share some of the same concerns that the MLB is seeing with the Marlins. With even bigger roster sizes and more contact between players, preventing coronavirus transmission will prove difficult.
While the Marlins are one of baseball’s bottom-feeders and their absence does not have the same effect as a team like the Yankees or Dodgers, a similar outbreak on a high-profile team could completely derail the 2020 season, hurting the league’s public image even more.