The opening day game between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets has been postponed after a Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, Major League Baseball announced Thursday. “Tonight’s scheduled game between the host Washington Nationals and the New York Mets at Nationals Park has been postponed because of ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization,” the league said in a statement.
The league said the game will not be made up Friday “out of an abundance of caution.” It will provide updates when available. The division rivals have a game scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
One Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19 and five other members of the organization had to quarantine, general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday.
“We’ve got a long season ahead of us,” Rizzo said. “We’re ready for the long haul. This is just a small blip on our radar screen. We’re going to handle it and take it in stride.”
Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins were involved in baseball’s two most significant COVID-19 outbreaks, CBS Sports reported. Both teams were shut down for approximately two weeks with a double-digit number of players and staff members testing positive in the early weeks of the abbreviated 60-game regular season.
Before Thursday, all 30 teams were set to take the field for opening day, the first 162-game season since 2019 after the coronavirus pandemic forced teams to play the shortened 2020 season. Besides the Mets-Nationals game, the Boston Red Sox-Baltimore Orioles game was postponed due to weather.
Ahead of opening day, the league’s chief operations and strategy manager, Chris Marinak, told “CBS This Morning” that the organization felt clubs working with their local authorities was the best way to determine the “right seating plan” for reopened ballparks.
“Every single ballpark is different, but we feel like every single park has done it safely in a way that’s consistent with the guidelines in that local community,” Marinak said.
It’s #OpeningDay and the @MLB says teams worked with local authorities to ensure fans are safe.
“Every single ballpark is different, but we feel like every single park has done it safely in a way that’s consistent with the guidelines in that local community.” pic.twitter.com/D5DIq4S9KZ
The highly anticipated day for baseball fans comes as the nonprofit news and science organization Climate Central published findings that show the average temperature in cities with major league teams rose 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the report, that warming affects the game. Not only does it put players — and fans — under more heat-related stress, it has led to more rain delays and rainouts.
The league is also dealing with a backlog of millions of 2020 bobbleheads that were never given away at games because of the pandemic.
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