The 2020 MLB season started on Thursday. It took only until Monday for everyone's worst fears about holding a season in the midst of a pandemic to be realized. The Miami Marlins had a COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse that has reportedly infected 14 members of the organization, and they've cancelled their home opener while the team remains in Philadelphia and tries to figure out what to do next.
It's not the worst-case scenario quite yet, but it's pretty close. Even if no more players or staff test positive for coronavirus, it will take several days to sort out which players are healthy and which are not since they've all been exposed at this point. The Marlins are supposed to play a game every day this week. Now, who knows if they'll play at all?
This is a code red for MLB and how the situation unfolds will be very telling for the viability of sports in general this year, not just baseball. A COVID-19 outbreak shortly before games that hits double-digit members of a franchise is the constant risk hovering in the background of the NBA/NHL bubbles and the upcoming NFL season. How they might deal with that will be based off how MLB handles the upcoming hours and days.
This could also get much worse, very fast. The Marlins apparently took the field yesterday against the Phillies with the knowledge their players had been exposed to people who tested positive.
A "cautionary tale" is a very nice way to put it. Very difficult to foresee any justification for that decision by the organization. The Marlins might sideline themselves and another team in doing that.
It's all just... bad news. It does not make one feel optimistic about sports in 2020, but if players are testing positive left and right, whether or not we have sports in our lives doesn't matter. These guys chose to play knowing the risk they were taking, but if it proves to be impossible to keep them safe, having baseball on at night suddenly doesn't seem so important.