BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A coronavirus outbreak in a Major League Baseball clubhouse has rocked the sports world, just 15 days before the first scheduled Toronto Blue Jays home game at Sahlen Field.
ESPN is reporting at least 13 members of the Miami Marlins, including 11 players, have tested positive for the virus. The Marlins, who were in Philadelphia playing the Phillies on Sunday, are scheduled to be in Buffalo on August 11th to play the Jays in the first major league game in the Queen City since 1915.
The Marlins’ game Monday night against Baltimore has been postponed. The Phillies game against the New York Yankees Monday was also postponed. The rest of the league will play as scheduled.
“Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation,” said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter. “We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests.”
Mayor Byron Brown said in light of the Marlins outbreak, he has no reservations about welcoming Major League Baseball to Buffalo. The Blue Jays will be playing most of their 2020 home schedule at Sahlen Field after the Canadian government denied them permission to play in Toronto.
“I wanted to make it known very early on that we were open to the Blue Jays playing here. I’m still open to the Blue Jays playing here if it can be done safely,” Brown said. “The (New York State Department of Health) is going to be looking at this and making decisions about this.”
Reached for comment, a Department of Health spokesperson said, “As we have throughout this unprecedented pandemic, DOH will continue to monitor public health metrics, review data, and use science to guide our decisions on this evolving situation.”
The Marlins are also scheduled to be in New York City to play the Mets for a series beginning next Friday.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also tweeted about the situation, saying, “While I support the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo, it must be done safely and cannot put (our) community at risk. No community should be put at risk just for sports.”
Poloncarz said he reached out to New York State and the Bisons regarding the Marlins’ situation.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.