An unidentified Major League Baseball (MLB) player held a birthday party at which several guests were exposed to the coronavirus and later came down with COVID-19, the disease caused by the pathogen, NBC Sports reported. Those guests likely brought the disease home with them and infected other people.
MLB reporter Jon Heyman reported the news in a Friday-morning tweet.
"One mid-June MLB player birthday party in Florida is believed to have led to infections and become a spreader in a spring clubhouse. The question is: Will this episode be repeated or will it become an important cautionary tale?" he tweeted.
The identity of the player, his team, the location of the party, and the number or identities of the people infected remain unclear as of this writing. Also unclear is whether or not any of the people who contracted the virus died or indeed were even sick enough to require hospitalization. With few exceptions, healthy adults generally fight off the coronavirus infection with mild symptoms or even no symptoms, and the disease generally has the worst effects on the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
That an MLB player's actions led to an unknown number of people contracting and then spreading the coronavirus is indicative of the issues MLB will face when it holds its 2020 season, writer Bill Baer posited.
Already the league and its players' union have agreed to a 60-game season to begin on July 23, which will see its games played, without fans at stadiums all across the country. By contrast, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are planning to conclude their seasons, which were wrapping up when the coronavirus pandemic hit, in "bubble cities," meaning all of the games will be played in a small handful of locations. Operating this way purportedly limits the potential coronavirus exposure to a small number of individuals in a confined geographic area.
If MLB is going to hold its games in stadiums across the country, every last one of its 1,800 players, as well as all of the coaches, team physicians, and other support staff, are going to have to abide by the league's safety protocols to the letter, Baer said.
"Just about every player participating needs to be on board with best practices when it comes to health and safety protocols. That seems like a very tall order," he wrote.
Indeed, at least five MLB players have already opted out of the season, believing the risk is just too great. Several coaches have been reassigned to other duties.