The Phillies' 2020 season was put on hold by Major League Baseball on Tuesday after at least 17 Miami Marlins players tested positive for COVID-19 between Opening Day and Tuesday.
The root of the Marlins' sudden outbreak hasn't been confirmed, but according to USA Today baseball insider Bob Nightengale, it started in Atlanta.
During an appearance in the 5:00-5:15 block on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Nightengale reported that "at least" one Marlins player, possibly more, left the team hotel and went out while in Atlanta, days before the season began.
Here's the report, verbatim, from Nightengale:
I think it's a wake-up call for all the other teams, saying, 'You'd better not go out at night.' Because if you bring it in, you've got a chance to knock off the season by yourself.
Well, I think a couple guys went out in Atlanta. That's what happened. I don't think it was any kind of fluke, from the bus driver or a pilot, any of that. I believe some guys got careless, at least one guy did for sure, he went out, and came back positive and spread it around.
Major League Baseball and the Marlins have yet to publicly discuss the cause of the team's outbreak.
The Marlins and Braves played an exhibition in Atlanta on July 22, which the Marlins won, 6-2. The Phillies opened their season against the Marlins, in Philadelphia, two days later.
The Marlins reportedly decided via group text to finish their season against the Phillies on Sunday, even after the team's expected starting pitcher tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Inquirer.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order in late June easing restrictions on restaurant capacities and employee face mask requirements.
Interestingly, Clippers guard and former Philadelphia 76er Lou Williams also recently decided to go out in Atlanta amid his respective sport's comeback attempt. Williams was spending time away from the NBA's Orlando bubble last week when he visited a strip club, and was subsequently placed in a 10-day quarantine by the league.