Coronavirus Sidelines US Baseball’s Miami Marlins  

Major League Baseball last week opened its sharply curtailed season nearly four months late because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now one team, the Miami Marlins, has been hit with an outbreak of infections. The Marlins played a three-game weekend series in the eastern city of Philadelphia but canceled its Monday night home opener in Miami against the Baltimore Orioles when eight more players and two coaches tested positive for the coronavirus. The new infections brought the total on the Marlins team to least 14 in recent days. The team stayed in Philadelphia Sunday night as it weighed health precautions. In addition, the Phillies, the Philadelphia team that played the Marlins, called off their Monday night game at home against the New York Yankees. Major League Baseball cut its normal 162-game regular season schedule to 60 games and started the season with empty stadiums in hopes of averting a widespread health disaster. Some reserve players have been sitting in the stands to give their teammates ample room to socially distance in the dugouts. Even so, several star players have contracted the coronavirus, including Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals, the 2019 World Series champions. Some coaches, players and on-field umpires have been wearing face masks during the opening games. The Toronto Blue Jays were banned by Canadian authorities from playing at its home field. The Canadian government balked at allowing U.S.-based teams from repeatedly crossing the border when it has already blocked U.S. tourists from entering the country. Toronto Blue Jays’ Brandon Drury celebrates with Danny Jansenafter scoring on a two run single by Bo Bichette off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Andrew Kittredge during the sixth inning of a baseball game, July 26, 2020, in Petersburg, Fla.Two other U.S.-dominated professional sports leagues, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, have opened training camps and hope to restart their seasons in the next few days after halting play for four months. All basketball games are being played in Orlando, Florida, rather than at the normal home arenas of each team, while all hockey games are all being played at arenas in two Canadian cities, Toronto and Edmonton. The National Football League is opening training camps this week but has already canceled the usual four exhibition games each team plays in August in advance of the start of the regular season in September.

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