The Philadelphia Phillies are dealing with a coronavirus outbreak as eight members of the team tested positive at their facility in Clearwater, Florida, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. It has been reported five players and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The identities of the eight individuals have not been revealed, and the team is still awaiting test results from other team personnel. The team facility is currently closed.
"The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16," the Phillies said in a statement. "In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests." Phillies managing partner John Middleton also released a statement and revealed the facility will remain closed until they have the outbreak under control.
"The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected," he said. Major League Baseball suspended operations in March when the pandemic began. At the time, the teams were in the thick of spring training, and the thought was the season would start in a month. The Phillies' coronavirus outbreak comes when MLB is looking to start the season next month. However, the players and the league have been going back-and-forth about money and how many games are played.
"I told [MLBPA executive director Tony Clark] 70 games was simply impossible given the calendar and the public health situation, and he went ahead and made that proposal anyway,'' Manfred said via ESPN. Manfred also mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci saying football needs to play in quarantine as well as basketball and hockey. "Our guys want nothing to do with that," he added. "No. 2, Fauci says we shouldn't be playing in October, and their proposal contemplates lengthening the season." The players want to play 70 games while the owners are looking at a 50-game season.