Less than 48 hours before they officially learned that they would play their first home game of 2020 against the New York Yankees, the Orioles were celebrating a series victory against the Boston Red Sox, winning a road series over a division rival to start a second straight season.
Not long after, they found themselves mired in the largest challenge the coronavirus has presented yet to Major League Baseball’s restart. The Orioles were in Miami for the first half of four straight games against the Marlins, with the latter two at Camden Yards. But the Marlins weren’t in Florida, with a rash of positive COVID-19 tests prompting the team to stay in Philadelphia, where it had opened its season against the Phillies.
Since, the Orioles spent a day in a Miami hotel waiting to learn what was next, more Marlins tested positive, and MLB’s 60-game regular-season schedule got shuffled in its first week. Here’s a timeline of what the past few days have looked like for the Orioles and MLB.
4:49 p.m. Sunday: Orioles right-hander Cole Sulser struck out Alex Verdugo to finish off Baltimore’s 7-4 victory over the Red Sox, clinching a series victory. Shortly after, the Orioles headed to Miami, where they were scheduled to play a two-game series against the Marlins before the teams headed to Baltimore for two more games.
Minutes later, the Marlins completed an 11-6 victory against the Phillies to improve to 2-1. Before the game, the Marlins learned that a handful of their teammates had tested positive for the virus. The players left standing decided via group text message to take the field anyway. After the game, the Marlins elected to stay in Philadelphia overnight because of concerns with the virus. The Orioles are already in Miami.
9:06 a.m. Monday: ESPN reported that 10 more members of the Marlins’ traveling party, including eight players, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Orioles were still at a hotel in Miami.
11:16 a.m. Monday: MLB officially announced that the Orioles-Marlins and Yankees-Phillies games that night were suspended. Players on both the Marlins and Phillies got tested for the virus, according to multiple reports.
Later that night, the Orioles flew back to Baltimore, ensuring that Tuesday’s scheduled game also wouldn’t be played in Miami. Reports speculated that the healthy Marlins could travel from Philadelphia to Baltimore and play Tuesday’s game as the home team before playing Wednesday’s and Thursday’s scheduled games.
6:56 p.m. Monday: Speaking on MLB Network, commissioner Rob Manfred said that Tuesday’s Orioles-Marlins game would also be postponed, but that the teams would play Wednesday in Baltimore if results from Miami’s next round of tests were “acceptable.” He gave no indication of what that threshold was.
9:52 a.m. Tuesday: The New York Post and others reported that Tuesday’s Yankees-Phillies game was suspended out of an abundance of caution. As the Phillies’ test results came in, none came back positive, though the incubation period of the virus does not guarantee that there was no transmission. The Marlins reportedly had four new cases arise.
12:02 p.m. Tuesday: The Athletic and others reported that the majority of Washington Nationals players voted against going to Miami for the team’s weekend series there against the Marlins.
3:01 p.m. Tuesday: MLB suspended the Marlins’ season through at least Sunday and the Phillies’ season through at least Thursday. The league also announced that instead of the Marlins, the Orioles will instead play the Yankees at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday, when New York was originally scheduled to host the Phillies.
4:18 p.m. Tuesday: Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that right-hander Gerrit Cole will start Wednesday’s game. That means that four months and a pandemic later than originally expected, Cole will be the opposing pitcher in the Orioles’ home opener.
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