Tonight’s Yankees-Phillies Game is Postponed (Again)

For the second time in two days, Major League Baseball has postponed a Yankees-Phillies game. This decision follows a report that four additional Marlins tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 17. Regardless of what Commissioner Rob Manfred says, this is both a nightmare scenario and an inflection point for the entire 2020 MLB season.

The Marlins outbreak raises questions about how seriously teams are treating the safety protocols internally. I suspect we will find out very soon that the Marlins did not take them very seriously at all. While individual responsibility is at play here, the league clearly needs to be doing more on this front. It should implement an independent third-party in each clubhouse to monitor and enforce them. If this is going to work – and, at this point, I have serious, serious doubts that it can – then that is the bare minimum.

There is some good news, though: no Phillies have yet tested positive. Philadelphia obviously played the Marlins – hence the postponed games – so this is reassuring. Team-to-team spread would almost certainly be the final blow to the season. Personally, I’d like to see a few more rounds of no positives before celebrating, but it is good news nonetheless. It also seems like testing yielded promising results regarding every other team. That, too, is good news.

Anyway, the Yankees and Phillies are both heading to the Bronx today in advance of tomorrow’s scheduled game. The Yankees will practice tonight at Yankee Stadium. For now, at least, things continue to move forward. We’ll have to see how long that lasts.

Update (1:32pm): Two additional relevant items have since come to light. First, the Phillies are not actually going to New York. They were planning to get saliva tests at the park today, then were going to get on a bus to the Big Apple.

However, that may not end up happening at all. Ken Rosenthal reported just now that the the league is discussing placing the Marlins and Phillies under quarantine for a to-be-determined length of time. The Yankees and Orioles (who were set to play Miami) will then play a two-game series on Wednesday and Thursday in Baltimore. As it happens, the Yankees are still in Philadelphia. They are in a “holding pattern.”

Honestly, I think this plan makes sense. Because of the regional scheduling, the only impacted teams (so far) are both in the AL and NL East. If the league decides to quarantine the Marlins and Phillies, then that opens up a new door. Their scheduled opponents could then play each other instead, like they’re doing with the Yanks and O’s. Will it work? Who knows!

What I do know is that some flexibility is needed if we’re going to move forward with this season. That might even include teams playing an unequal number of games and the best winning percentage ruling the day for playoff purposes. That decision comes next, though. What we’re hearing about now is step one.

One last note: none of the Yankees, Phillies, or MLB have officially announced that this game tonight is even postponed. Maybe the Yanks are on their way to Baltimore as we speak for a game tonight. I doubt it! But nothing will surprise me anymore. More to come, I’m sure.

Update (2:33 pm): It’s official. Yankees will play a two-game set in Baltimore beginning tomorrow. As I said, this makes sense. Miami will be off until Monday and Philadelphia is off until Friday.

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11 Comments

  1. Mungo

    The issue here is MLB and the MLBPA need to understand if the Marlins did anything different here that might have caused this spread. Did they not follow protocols? This is a virus, and we know it can spread rapidly, so maybe it was just bad timing, meaning someone caught it just as they were hoping on a jet from Atlanta. Hopefully they find out. I’d rather find out the Marlins did something wrong so it can be corrected.

    Also, what is it with people who wear masks below their nose? I saw Girardi doing it the other day. Wear the mask properly.

    Maybe this will be a wake-up call for all involved, including the players on the field. I’ve seen way too much social distancing violations in the first weekend. I get it. Habits are hard to break. They can do it.

  2. dasit

    a few things:

    there’s an incubation period so it is still too early to know for sure whether or not philly players were infected

    if winning percentage will decide who gets into the “tournament” is there a scenario where the marlins don’t play another game and make the postseason with their sparkling .667 winning percentage?

    the 40 and 60-man rules that were agreed upon did not fully consider a large, single-team outbreak. teams are not going to choose their best prospects to replace quarantined regulars because of service time issues

    lack of foresight is biting mlb in the butt

  3. MikeD

    Beyond the health of the players and staff, which should remain paramount, the most interesting aspect to watch is how the Marlins and MLB go about fielding a team for the next few weeks, while also replenishing and maintaining the alternate site squad. Also an issue is the Nats saying they don’t want to travel to Miami because it’s a hot spot. If teams start deciding they’re not traveling, then the season will come to an end.

    The season may end depending how things unfold, but we’re not there yet. An inflection point? Sure. This site can be, how should I say, a bit alarmist. As I said yesterday, let’s see what tomorrow brings and how certain issues are handled.

    • Bobby

      I agree. I don’t think this alone will be enough to stop the season. That said, if it does turn out that the Marlins caused an outbreak on the Phillies (which we don’t have evidence of yet but is still an open question), then I think it starts to become more difficult for the league to justify. These things always snowball, and the Nationals decision you referenced is just one example of what might happen next. I really want this season to work and don’t mean to come across as alarmist, but it’s very difficult to interpret what’s happening in Miami as anything but a very serious challenge to the entire exercise.

      • MikeD

        It is, although I suspect MLB believed this was a likely occurrence at some point over the 60-game season. Most concerning is that it happened right out of the gate. I’m fine calling it an inflection point. I’m just not ready to say it’s the beginning of the end. I mean, I hope not. We all hope not. : -)

  4. Gerreddardit Cole

    They have no right to cancel these games, Bobby. It’s either safe to play or it’s not. We should have at least either went to Baltimore or NY and played the Orioles Tuesday-Thursday. No sense punishing 3 clubs that had nothing to do with this because of the Marlins negligence. Now our ballplayers are just sitting around collecting dust rather than capitalizing on the momentum built in DC. And now they’re going to want us to play a DH at some point to make up the games. We better be playing tomorrow.

  5. mikenyc2007

    Bobby

    I don’t understand why you believe this to be an inflection point for the whole season, or why this should create a sense of panic… this was contemplated and planned for with expanded rosters and continual testing etc…. while its never good news that a bunch of players are laid up, it shouldn’t be a surprise either.

    so long as they return healthy, and their contacts are traced and everyone is aware of their situation, this is no different than everyone else in the world going to work every day.

    to think super-healthy athletes with access to premium medical care should be sheltered, and an entire industry shuttered because of positive tests for ailments which their demographic should be relatively innocuous, really sets a precedence and cost that our society can neither afford to sustain, and a position which isn’t shared by everyone.

    • dasit

      mlb is not a school system. there is no cost to society if we go without sports this year. no one knows the long-term effects of the virus. for example, edwin rodriguez currently has a heart condition. in my opinion this season should not have been played

      • NJYankeeFan

        Of course there is a cost. Whether it is just entertainment and something that makes lives just a little better or employment for many people, not just the players, but everyone else that works in the industry either directly or indirectly.

      • MikeD

        We can pretty much say this for about 95% of businesses across the country, meaning there is no cost to society, yet there is a cost to society if everything, or most things, are shut down for a year. Most businesses and people have inched forward, some have run, perhaps too soon. Baseball is not simply viewing pleasure. It is a business that impacts many, many lives, directly and indirectly. I have no issue with the two sides attempting to make this happen, anymore than I have with my local restaurant opening up and hoping to continue on.

  6. NJYankeeFan

    Definitely good news. Short term contact (standing next to someone at 1b for instance) is likely not spreading it. Still would like to see more players wearing masks.

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