The St. Louis Cardinals returned to action on Saturday after more than a week off. The club had to shut things down because of a coronavirus outbreak that president John Mozeliak said was likely due to close quarters and some players not adhering to protocols in places like the dining hall, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.
“We had some pretty tight rooms when we were up in Minneapolis,” Mozeliak said before the Cardinals played the Chicago White Sox in a doubleheader on Saturday. “Some people thought they were healthy and they weren’t and they had close contact in terms of discussions. At the time, if I had to guess, they were mask-less. We had it drilled down to possibly the dining halls.”
In order to try and bounce back from the MLB-mandated shutdown after the Cardinals played just five games, the team placed several players on the COVID-19 list, deactivating them for the time being. They also recalled five members from their alternate site in Springfield, Missouri.
The Cardinals had a total of 10 players and coaches test positive for the coronavirus. None of those who tested positive for the virus are back in action yet.
The team’s long layoff means the Saturday doubleheader against the Whitesox is just the beginning. They’ll have similar matchups next week against the Chicago Cubs, where they’ll play five times in three days.
The Cardinals’ front office has been adamant they don’t believe the mini-outbreak was because anyone was being reckless. Those denials came despite admissions that people weren’t using masks when they were coming into contact with each other in those close quarters and the dining hall.
Before the club’s first contest in more than a week, Cardinals manager Mike Schildt made similar comments to other members of the front office on Friday, telling the media it would irresponsible if anyone blamed members of the team for getting sick and catching COVID-19.
“What I can tell you, with confidence, is it would be very irresponsible and a misstep to say this group went out and did anything that was egregious,” Shildt said Friday evening. “To say something otherwise would be inaccurate. Strongly inaccurate.”
While the Cardinals’ top brass doesn’t believe anyone is specifically to blame for the outbreak, Mozeliak did say the franchise is going to be more careful moving forward. For starters, he said they are going to make sure that there is plenty of room between each member of the team.
He said they would take advantage of all the empty seats in their home stadium. He also said when it came to mealtime, it would be one player per table.