July 31 (UPI) — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred informed MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that the 2020 season could be shut down if teams fail to do a better job of handling the coronavirus.
League sources told ESPN, USA Today Sports and the New York Post that Manfred, who has the power to cancel the season, could move in that direction if another outbreak occurs. According to ESPN, multiple players briefed on the conversation fear the season could be canceled as soon as Monday if positive tests climb or if players continue to neglect the league’s protocols.
The call between Manfred and the players’ union came after an outbreak among the Miami Marlins in which at least 21 members of the club tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, the league postponed the Marlins’ next six games because of the team’s positive test results.
Two positive tests by St. Louis Cardinals players Friday exacerbated concerns inside the league about the presence of COVID-19 and whether health and safety protocols are being properly followed to prevent the spread of the virus.
As a result of the positive tests, the Cardinals’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed Friday and rescheduled to a doubleheader Sunday. The Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were already missing scheduled games, leaving 20% of MLB’s Friday slate empty because of the coronavirus.
MLB and the MLBPA on Friday released the latest batch of test results through Thursday. Of the 11,895 samples taken over the last week, there were 29 positive tests — 20 by players and nine by staff members. The Marlins were responsible for 21 of those positives.