All eyes are on Major League Baseball after the Miami Marlins suffered a coronavirus outbreak. ESPN reported Monday that at least 14 players and coaches have tested positive in the organization.
Now the question is: What happens next?
With a shortened schedule that includes 60 games in less than 70 days for every team, this was the last thing baseball needed. The schedule has little room for makeup games.
How the Marlins and MLB handle the outbreak could impact decision-making for the NFL and college football for the coming season. For now, players, coaches, media and fans are left to wonder.
One of the biggest concerns about baseball’s return was the lack of a “bubble” atmosphere to play games. With the latest news, that decision has been brought back to light. ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski believes the lack of a bubble is a major reason for the outbreak.
Wojnarowski may be right. No players in the NBA bubble have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 13, and exhibition games are well underway. The MLS bubble is also seeing success.
The Marlins’ first three games were against the Phillies. There haven’t been reports of the virus impacting the Phillies, but how MLB handles the opposing team is the next order of business. The chances of that series going on as planned aren’t looking good after Game 1 was postponed.
NFL training camps are slated to begin soon, and college football teams will start summer camps in early August. Football viewership dominates all other sports and television. In 2019, 47 of the 50 most-watched television shows were NFL games, according to CNN business.
That could be in jeopardy.
Former NFL player and ESPN personality Damien Woody is losing hope, and he’s not the only one. While the bubble works for smaller sports, NFL rosters and staffs make it a more difficult task. Current NFL player Jason McCourty even has concerns.
On the other hand, others are more optimistic that the outbreak won’t have a long-lasting impact on the MLB or potential football seasons.
The Marlins’ outbreak is either an outlier or a sign of things to come. There may be players who trusted MLB’s initial plan for the return, but the latest developments could lead to more players opting out. Especially after a Marlins made the decision to play against the Phillies via a group text Sunday.