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MLB’s coronavirus problem is turning into a scheduling nightmare

Things are moving from bad, to worse.

Pittsburgh Pirates v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals have been struggling with a Covid-19 outbreak after it was revealed members of the organization went to a casino ahead of their series against the Twins. Now, a week later things have gotten much, much worse.

Ripples of the Cardinals’ outbreak is being felt throughout the league, with issues wrecking havoc on the schedule to ensure games can be played ahead of the presumed playoffs. As it stands the Cardinals now need to play 55 games in 49 days, in order to make up the rest of the season — and that presumes they won’t miss any more games that are now scheduled.

As it stands the standings in the NL Central looks like this, with the Cardinals being in third place, but only having five games played, while the rest of the division has taken the field 10 times or more.

The scheduled series between the Cardinals and Cubs, set to begin on Friday night, was postponed after a new St. Louis player tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. The ramifications of the outbreak is causing huge problems for the rest of the league.

  • The postponed series between the Cardinals and Tigers has now been pushed to August 13 and September 10, both of which will be double headers.
  • Moving these games conflicts with the “Field of Dreams” game, set to take place against the White Sox. Now that game will be played on August 14, and moved from Iowa to Chicago.
  • The double header scheduled between the Tigers and Brewers on September 10 has now been moved to September 9, because of the Cardinals.

This is one example of how Covid is affecting the league, and it’s not limited to the Cardinals. Similar issues with the Phillies and Marlins are resulting in the own host of scheduling issues, similar to the situation above — causing a intricate web of issues, all resulting in players being forced to compete multiple times, in limited days, in many cases without adequate rest. The Marlins, for instance, have 20 straight days of games in September, including four double headers.

It’s unclear how MLB plans to deal with the issue. Traditionally a team needed approval from the MLBPA to force players to compete 20 days in a row, but under the current climate it’s become the only way to finish the season.

Everything is a mess, and every game that gets delayed compounds these issues and makes it all worse. An intervention will be needed unless things can return to normal immediately, but there’s little indication that will coming.