Report: MLB could shut down by Monday if virus spreads

Major League Baseball’s season could be in jeopardy if teams and players can’t contain the coronavirus, commissioner Rob Manfred is warning, just a week after opening day.

And the shutdown could happen as soon as Monday.

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 27: Vice President Mike Pence takes off his mask before speaking during a press conference at the the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on July 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Vice President participated in a roundtable with university leadership and researchers on the progress of a Coronavirus vaccine. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Cars line up for Covid-19 test at a "walk-in" and "drive-through" coronavirus testing site in Miami Beach, Florida on July 22, 2020. - The United States on July 21 recorded 68,524 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported in its real-time tally. The United States has seen a resurgence of cases, particularly in the so-called Sun Belt, stretching across the south from Florida to California. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
People relax on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida on July 28, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
A couple eat dinner at a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida on July 28, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
A group of men play music on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida on July 28, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 27: An exterior view of Don Soffer Clinical Research Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on July 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Phase III trials for a COVID-19 vaccine are scheduled to begin at the research center. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 27: An aerial drone view of Marlins Park on July 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Miami Marlins' home opener against the Baltimore Orioles was postponed after a number of players tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
A man walks past the Aardvark Mobile Health's Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck in Miami Beach, on July 24, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Nurse practitioner Raciel Gomez (L) swabs the nose of Jeewan Prabha Mehta through a glass pane at the Aardvark Mobile Health's Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck in Miami Beach, on July 24, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Medical staff look at a form at the Aardvark Mobile Health's Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck in Miami Beach, on July 24, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 24: Dr. Rubin Vercus prepares to place a box of food and a gallon of milk in the back of a vehicle at drive-thru food distribution site set up at the First Church of the Brethren on July 24, 2020 in Miami, Florida. 500 boxes of food were donated by Farm Share for those in need to help people trying to make ends meet during the pandemic. The United States economic recovery is showing signs of weakness as a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 has caused some business owners to lay employees off again, four months after the initial outbreak of coronavirus in March. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 24: Dr. Rubin Vercus places a box of food and a gallon of milk in the back of a vehicle at a drive-thru food distribution site set up at the First Church of the Brethren on July 24, 2020 in Miami, Florida. 500 boxes of food were donated by Farm Share for those in need to help people trying to make ends meet during the pandemic. The United States economic recovery is showing signs of weakness as a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 has caused some business owners to lay employees off again, four months after the initial outbreak of coronavirus in March. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Narendra Mehta (C) completes a form for testing at the Aardvark Mobile Health's Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck in Miami Beach, on July 24, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
FLORIDA, USA - JULY 24: A healthcare worker collects samples using a nasal swab at a mobile COVID-19 testing facility, in Miami Beach, Florida, United States on July 24, 2020. (Photo by MARCO BELLO/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Florida, Miami Beach, Covid 19, mobile testing facility, FDEM Division of Emergency Management with long lines. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, with health workers Gabriel Appoh, left, and Varaiaia Barkus at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 23: Health care workers direct people to use a nasal swab for a self administered test at the new federally funded COVID-19 testing site at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on July 23, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, visited the site, as the state of Florida experiences a spike in coronavirus cases, to encourage people to wear a mask and take other precautions to fight the pandemic. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 23: A health care worker directs a person to use a nasal swab for a self administered test at the new federally funded COVID-19 testing site at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on July 23, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, visited the site, as the state of Florida experiences a spike in coronavirus cases, to encourage people to wear a mask and take other precautions to fight the pandemic. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Cars line up for Covid-19 test at a "walk-in" and "drive-through" coronavirus testing site in Miami Beach, Florida on July 22, 2020. - The United States on July 21 recorded 68,524 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported in its real-time tally. The United States has seen a resurgence of cases, particularly in the so-called Sun Belt, stretching across the south from Florida to California. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
MIAMI LAKES, FLORIDA - JULY 22: Dr. Jacqueline Delmont, Chief Medical Officer of SOMOS Community Care, uses a nasal swab to test Eddie Mena for COVID-19 in a medical tent at a testing site locate at the Miami Lakes Youth Center on July 22, 2020 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Testing is being provided by doctors from New York City associated with SOMOS Community Care, as the state of Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 20: A man is seen putting away a sign away infront of a closed restaurant on Ocean Drive in the entertainment district of Miami Beach after Miami Dade County imposed a daily 8 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew, on July 20, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. The City of Miami Beach put the curfew back into place to fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has spiked in recent days after the Phase 1 reopening of businesses. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused calls to impose a statewide face mask mandate despite the record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the state in recent days. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)
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According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Manfred sent this warning to the players union on Friday — at the conclusion of a week that’s seen the league ravaged by positive tests. The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies have their seasons on pause after a rash of positive tests. On Friday alone, six teams aren’t playing games because of the wide-ranging effects of players testing positive. The St. Louis Cardinals were the latest team impacted, with two positive tests announced Friday.

According to Passan, this weekend could be crucial for whether the season continues:

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut the season down, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear that season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league's protocols.

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league's 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players not wearing masks, high-fiving and spitting have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.

MLB's season could reportedly be shut down as soon as Monday if teams and players can't better control coronavirus. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The latest testing results, released Friday afternoon by MLB, say this week the league took 11,895 samples with 29 positives, or 0.2 percent. The troubling part is that 21 of those came from the same team, which we know to be the Marlins. It brings MLB’s total testing numbers to 40,783 with 58 positives, or 0.1 percent of those tested.

Despite those relatively small numbers, the season has already been marred by coronavirus concerns. From opening day, when Nationals star Juan Soto tested positive before the season’s first game, to this week’s Marlins outbreak, holding a baseball season during a pandemic has already proven more challenging than officials had planned for.

The Marlins went from four players infected to half their roster infected in two days. Now, 18 players from the Marlins are infected and their season is paused until at least Monday. The Phillies, their opponents last weekend, have had their season paused and are in quarantine. The Cardinals reported two positive players Friday. Schedules for the Nationals, Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles and Brewers have all been affected because of the positive tests.

On Monday, Manfred said the Marlins situation wasn’t a “nightmare” scenario. By Friday, it sounds like MLB might be getting closer.

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