The Seattle Mariners have a positive COVID-19 test in the clubhouse and that number may climb. The reason for concern is that the Mariners are among the least-vaccinated teams in Major League Baseball, having only gotten to a vaccination rate of 50 percent or less.
There is real fear that the team could face a serious spread of COVID due to close contacts in the clubhouse. While the Mariners' minor league system is almost entirely vaccinated, the big league squad is lagging behind. If teams reach the 85 percent threshold for Tier 1 employees, MLB's stringent COVID-19 protocols can be relaxed. It doesn't look like that will happen any time soon in Seattle.
Perhaps most maddening is the fact that the Mariners were the first franchise to offer vaccinations to fans attending games. That happened nearly three weeks ago but apparently the players aren't taking advantage of the deal.
The Mariners are scheduled to face the San Diego Padres on Friday after the Padres faced a small outbreak last week. The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals have had COVID issues this season as well.
While the pandemic may be winding down in the U.S., this isn't over. As long as players refuse the vaccine available to them, the risk of an outbreak is very real.