Virus Outbreak Leaves Many Questions Ahead For Cardinals

The 2020 MLB season is not even two weeks old. However, commissioner Rob Manfred is already facing a virus outbreak in two separate clubs: the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. Whether the blame rests on protocol-breaking players, naïve league administrators, or the country as a whole, the fact of the matter is that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on MLB.

Cardinals’ Outbreak

As of Wednesday, August 5th, the Cardinals have reported 13 positive tests within the organization. Six of them came from club staff, the other seven from Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, Junior Fernandez, Rangel Ravelo, Edmundo Sosa, Kodi Whitley, and one other unknown player. Due to these positives, their weekend series scheduled for July 31st-August 2nd against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed. The club also postponed their four-game home-and-home series vs. the Detroit Tigers for a later date.

Many were surprised to see the cancellation of the Field of Dreams Game vs. the Chicago White Sox, scheduled for August 13th. However, Ken Rosenthal reported that many logistical issues had come up in recent weeks. The new surge in positive tests was not the sole reason. The large virus outbreak within the Marlins’ clubhouse and its subsequent cancellation of games might have contributed to the problem.

Possible Causes

MLB, Manfred, and the individual teams have all received heavy criticism for their handling of the season’s kickoff. Early in negotiations, players and owners could not agree on any type of “bubble” season in which they would be isolated in a controlled area. Considering how little difficulty the NBA and NHL have had with this strategy, that may have been a mistake.

Marlins owner Derek Jeter blamed their outbreak on a “false sense of security” about the spread of the virus. Jeter reassured the media that his players were simply lax about wearing masks and social distancing. The Hall of Famer insisted they were not out partying in Atlanta during their opening series.

A report came from Jon Heyman on Monday afternoon that multiple Cardinals players had visited a casino in Minneapolis prior to their series against the Minnesota Twins. However, there has been no real evidence to corroborate Heyman’s report, and no photographs either.

Social Media Photos

Some confusion could be traced back to a picture posted on Instagram by Harrison Bader on July 12th. Bader and a few teammates took a group photo with masks on at an outdoor, drive-in Nelly concert. The location appeared as “Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St. Louis,” which could have led some to believe they were visiting a real casino and not an outdoor concert venue.

A Facebook photo of John Gant and Miles Mikolas posing maskless with the owner of a boat rental shop in Illinois also surfaced from July 23rd, the day before the Cardinals opened the 2020 season. However, Bader, Mikolas, and Gant all tested negative, so the real catalyst remains to be seen.

Looking Forward

Regardless of any outbreak, the Cardinals did not perform well offensively in their last few games before the postponement. The lineup mustered just four runs in 27 innings against Mitch Keller, Homer Bailey, and 40-year-old Rich Hill. The team hopes to be healthy enough for their weekend series against the rival Chicago Cubs. However, if they can not find their offense, especially with multiple players missing, the Cardinals could be in for a long month of August.

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