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Philadelphia Phillies Put Brakes On Home Games After Coronavirus Cases

The Phillie Phanatic sits alone in the stands during a game between the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. During this series, as many as 19 Marlins players and coaches had already been infected with the coronavirus.
The Phillie Phanatic sits alone in the stands during a game between the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. During this series, as many as 19 Marlins players and coaches had already been infected with the coronavirus.

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

A week after Major League Baseball's pandemic-shortened regular season began, another team is altering its schedule because of positive test results for the coronavirus.

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday they've shut down their ballpark and an upcoming series of games has been postponed. The Phillies were the last team to play the Miami Marlins before the Marlins paused their schedule this week due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Now the Phillies are dealing with the virus.

In a statement, the team said a member of the coaching staff and a member of the home clubhouse staff were positive after being tested Wednesday. No players tested positive for the coronavirus. The team said it's canceling all activity at Citizens Bank Park until further notice.

The Phillies played several games against the Marlins last weekend when Miami began reporting an outbreak that's now infected at least 19 players and coaches. The Marlins postponed games through this week. They've said they'll restart early next week. Their next scheduled game, ironically, is against Philadelphia, in Miami.

Because of their contact with the Marlins, the Phillies had several games postponed this week against the New York Yankees. Philadelphia was scheduled to resume play on Saturday against Toronto. But Thursday, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said the weekend series had been postponed.

Hours later, Major League Baseball confirmed the three games in Philadelphia were called off "out of an abundance of caution."

In a statement, MLB said it "will coordinate with health experts and the Major League Baseball Players Association in planning for the Phillies resumption of play, and will provide further scheduling updates as necessary."

Earlier this week, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said on MLB Network baseball's comprehensive health and safety protocols were built "to allow us to continue to play."

But with the Marlins and now the Phillies paused, the challenges of playing during a surging pandemic are becoming obvious. Especially for baseball, which is playing in 30 cities and teams are travelling and they're not in a protective bubble like the NBA. That league restarted its regular season Thursday after this week reporting zero cases of COVID-19 from its latest round of testing of 344 players living and playing on a single-site campus at the Walt Disney World resort near Orlando, Fla.

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