Cardinals, Marlins show consequences of not following protocols during coronavirus pandemic

The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins became baseball’s poster boys Monday on how careless, but not necessarily reckless, behavior can put a Major League season into chaos.

The Cardinals had seven players and six staff members test positive for COVID-19, postponing their upcoming four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, and making them the third team who will have gone an entire week without playing a game.

“Needless to say,’’ Cardinals president John Mozeliak said, “we know it’s very real. It moves quickly. It moves silently.

“It can affect a lot of people fast.’’

The Marlins, who are scheduled to resume play Tuesday night in Baltimore, had 18 players and two staff members test positive, and will wind up spending 22 consecutive days on the road before returning to Miami.

St. Louis Cardinals president John Mozeliak has had 13 people on his team test positive. (Photo: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)

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The players, who packed originally for a six-day trip, have had to try to exercise in their hotel rooms without using a gym. A few pitchers said they threw baseballs against a mattress in their room, with chairs stacked up to emulate hitters. They had their first workout Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania, only to have the pitching mounds covered in mud.

Now, the Cardinals are going to have to endure the same challenges by being isolated at their downtown hotel in Milwaukee until at least Wednesday, unable to even leave their hotel room unless getting tested.

“I hope people see what happened to us and use that as a warning,’’ Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said. “If you’re not following the protocols 100% …you can’t let your guard down. We’re battling something that is invisible.’’

Jeter acknowledged that two of their players violated the safety and health protocols, but players were not reckless in their actions in Atlanta.

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says the coronavirus outbreak on his team should serve as a warning. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee, AP)

There were reports that at least one Cardinals player visited a casino, but Mozeliak denied it.

“I have no factual reason to believe that is true,’’ Mozeliak said, “and I have not seen any proof of that. If they were at a casino, though, that would be disappointing."

The infection began in St. Louis, Mozeliak said, and not in Milwaukee, where they were scheduled to play a three-game series against the Brewers. They are now scheduled to resume play Friday in St. Louis against the Chicago Cubs.

Yet, there was no reason to play the blame game, Mozeliak said, on how a player or staff member contracted the disease.

“There is inherent risk and the reality is we’re in a pandemic,’’ Mozeliak said. “Would it make it easier if we said, 'Oh, somebody went to a strip joint?’ "

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