Photo: The Canadian Press
FILE – In this August 14, 2020 file photo, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo looks on during the seventh inning following a suspended baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Nationals at Baltimore. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Rizzo said that a player on the team had tested positive for COVID-19. Rizzo said four teammates and one staff member were quarantined on the eve of the start of the regular season after contact tracing.
In case anyone thought, or at least hoped, that the new baseball season went off without a hitch linked to the coronavirus, there was bad news on opening day:
The Washington Nationals game against the New York Mets was postponed Thursday after at least three of the 2019 World Series champions’ players tested positive for COVID-19.
“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and people still need to take this seriously. Unfortunately it hit us, and we have to take care of our own now, ”said national championships manager Dave Martinez. “All I can say is, be careful, continue to wear your masks as they ask and know that it can still happen to anyone. It’s difficult for us right now, but we’ll get there.
General manager Mike Rizzo said Washington also had a fourth player rated “probably positive.” He did not identify any of the actors involved.
“For the most part, the whole team has been – we’ve put them – on lockdown and they’re quarantining themselves,” Rizzo said.
He said it was not yet known when the game would be invented, other than that it would not be played on Friday, initially organized as a day off to allow for a makeup contest if there was a problem with the game. 1, like a rain.
Rizzo said one of the players who tested positive had a fever, while the others were not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Contact tracing continued to see who else might have been exposed.
The teams are supposed to play Saturday and Sunday in Washington.
The Mets trained at Nationals Park Thursday, with pitchers pitched live at batters.
“To be honest, it wasn’t a surprise. We’ve been in situations like this since last year, ”said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “Health is still the number one thing in the world. We take care of ourselves. Everyone takes their mask everywhere. We do whatever we need to do. ”
The news spread in baseball at the start of the 2021 season.
“We have to do business and not let go,” said Brian Snitker, manager of the Atlanta Braves. “It’s just a reminder that this stuff is still here and real. ”
Going into this part of the schedule, and with the intention of playing a full 162-game slate, is quite a contrast to 2020, when the spring training shows were halted in March as the he COVID-19 epidemic has gripped the world. The sport eventually staged a truncated 60-game regular season that began in July with zero spectators in the stadiums and a fake crowd noise coming through the speakers.
Now, with the vaccines being widely distributed, fans are allowed to return in varying numbers – including a packed house for the Texas Rangers, which President Joe Biden told ESPN was a mistake – and a sense of normalcy seemed to return to the House. national pastime.
“A lot of things are opening up, you know, in the country and things like that. I think we’ll all feel a lot better once we get the multiple injections and the vaccinations, both rounds of that, ”said Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who was injected Thursday.
“But for a team, it’s really, really dangerous. … Your club is losing several guys at once, which is really what can put you back to start your season. It messes up the list, all kinds of things you do, ”he said. “So it’s a bit tricky at the moment, everyone is leaving their camps and their bubbles and going out. No more trips. No more access to other things. ”
Rizzo said he was not sure how his team’s outbreak started. His team did not report any positive tests during six weeks of camp in Florida.
“I have the greatest confidence that this was not a protocol for breaking players,” he said.
The Florida squad’s flight to Washington at the end of spring training Monday created close contact between players and staff.
The Nationals – who finished tied for last at NL East in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season – were supposed to send Max Scherzer to the mound to face New Yorker Jacob deGrom on Thursday in a game between pitchers who own a total of five Cy Young. Rewards.
Scherzer said he was not on this team flight and traveled separately with his family.
“It’s a shame we can’t play today, but we have to stay positive. I have spoken to many players and I am concerned about their health and safety, ”said Martinez of Washington. “This is not the first time that we have crossed bumpy roads. We’ve been there and we’re going to come back and we’re going to play baseball.