Just four days after beginning a truncated coronavirus-delayed season, Major League Baseball faces a serious obstacle with the postponement of two scheduled games due to COVID-19.
The postponement of Monday's games in Philadelphia and Miami was a potentially ominous development for MLB and other major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada hoping to forge ahead during the pandemic.
The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League are set to resume play this week after a hiatus of more than four months, while National Football League training camps are opening with the season scheduled to begin in September.
While the NBA and Major League Soccer have opted for teams to play inside a bio-secure bubble in Florida to stem the spread of the virus, NFL and baseball teams will stick to playing their usual home and away games this season.
It was unclear whether the MLB season has been placed in jeopardy while Commissioner Rob Manfred has not specified the conditions under which he would consider a suspension of the abbreviated 60-game season.
He told the MLB Network on Monday that the health of the players and their families was the league's "first concern".
"We've been fortunate so far, we've done tens of thousands of tests - our positive rate has been .4%. So we feel like the protocols have worked pretty well," Manfred said.
"We're doing some additional testing, if the testing results are acceptable the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles."
According to an ESPN report, at least 13 Miami Marlins players have tested positive in recent days.
The Marlins opened their season on Friday in Philadelphia and were scheduled to return to Florida on Sunday for their scheduled Monday home opener against the Baltimore Orioles but put off travelling after the positive tests.
"The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement.
Philadelphia Phillies were scheduled to host the New York Yankees on Monday but that game also was postponed because the Marlins players had used the stadium.
The Marlins' outbreak was the talk of baseball and Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez choked on his words as he discussed the situation.
"I'm going to be honest with you: I'm scared," Martinez said.
"I got guys in our clubhouse that are really concerned, as well."