Instead of parking their cars and going into Citizens Bank Park to prepare for a game against the New York Yankees on Monday afternoon, Phillies players and staff drove into the ballpark's parking facility, took a COVID-19 saliva test and headed home to wait for further instructions.
Major League Baseball postponed the game Monday morning after 11 Miami Marlins players and two members of the coaching staff reportedly received positive test results for COVID-19 during the team’s weekend series in Philadelphia.
The Marlins learned of one of the positive tests before Friday night’s game and three more before Sunday’s game.
Phillies players received a group text message from the club early Sunday, telling them of the Marlins’ situation and reminding them of health and safety protocols.
The game was played and the Phillies lost, 11-6.
It is customary for big-league teams to travel right after a series, but the Marlins stayed in Philadelphia on Sunday night as they awaited the results of more testing. Nine more positive tests were revealed Monday morning, according to reports, and the Marlins’ flight to Miami was pushed back. In an early morning group text, members of the Marlins’ traveling party were told to remain in their hotel rooms and await further direction. The Marlins’ game Monday night in Miami was postponed.
Word of the Marlins’ positive tests spread quickly around baseball on Sunday afternoon. In Washington, the Yankees caught wind of the developments in Philadelphia and, according to sources, reached out to Phillies officials to gauge the feasibility of moving Monday night’s game from Citizens Bank Park to Yankee Stadium. That plan did not gain traction, but the Yankees still had concerns about bringing their players into the same clubhouse that the Marlins had used for three days. As a solution, the Yankees planned to send their own clubhouse staff to Philadelphia as the Phillies were required to quarantine the visiting clubhouse staff that they had assigned to work the Marlins series.
The clubhouses at Citizens Bank Park are sanitized daily and the Phillies did that after the Marlins series. The Yankees, according to sources, were planning to bring their own sanitizing equipment to Philadelphia and going through the process again when they learned the game had been postponed.
The Yankees traveled from Washington to Philadelphia on Sunday night and spent the night at a Center City hotel, though not the same one as the Marlins.
The Phillies are supposed to host the Yankees on Tuesday night then play Wednesday and Thursday in the Bronx. There has been some chatter that Tuesday night’s game could be moved to New York, though nothing firm.
Meanwhile, Phillies players wait.
And some worry.
One told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Monday that he had come in contact with one of the Marlins players who tested positive during Saturday’s game.
Another wondered if MLB’s 60-game season was in jeopardy.
Players and staff are tested every other day as part of MLB’s COVID-19 protocol. According to a source, the processing of Monday’s drive-up tests is to be expedited.
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