Washington CEO Mike Rizzo said the entire team “is under Mike Rizzo-mandated self-quarantine” until contact tracing can be completed, while director Dave Martinez stressed that the pandemic that shortened the 2020 season to 60 games is not yet behind baseball as the new seasons begin.
“He is always there. Like I said during the spring training, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and people still have to take this seriously, they really do, ”Martinez said. “Unfortunately it hit us and we have to take care of our own now.
“All I can say is be careful and keep wearing your mask and know that it can still happen to anyone.” It’s difficult for us right now, but we’ll get there.
Rizzo said he “doesn’t know” whether the Mets and Nationals will be able to play Saturday and Sunday, as hoped, after MLB announced the opener would not be caught on Friday.
The Nats announced on Wednesday that one of their players had tested positive with five additional players quarantined due to MLB contact tracing protocols. The new positive tests came from this group of players, Rizzo added.
“When we find out just the number of people, where they’re at and their timeline, we’ll have a much better picture of that,” Rizzo said. “Obviously our intention is to play [Saturday], but we need to do it in a safe way that protects the players and their families, as well as our fans and staff.
“This is serious business. It’s about people’s health, and obviously they’re very important to me, but they’re people. We lost over half a million people [in the United States] because of this virus and there is nothing to joke about, nothing to point fingers at. I believe we did it the right way all last year and throughout spring training.
Rizzo stressed that he had “the utmost confidence” that no Washington player had broken protocols and that the current outbreak was “just an isolated incident.” One of the players who tested positive had a fever, Rizzo added, “but for the most part they’re not symptomatic. ”
All-star outfielder Juan Soto tested positive last July and missed the delayed season opener against the Yankees.
The Mets have been training at Nationals Park for the past two days, but the Nats have only been on the job site for testing, Rizzo added.
“It’s a shame we can’t play today, but we have to stay positive,” Martinez said. “I have spoken to a lot of players and I am concerned about their health and safety. … We’re going to get through this. This is not the first time that we have taken bumpy roads. We’ve been there and we’re going to come back and play baseball.