St. Louis Cardinals: Another trip around the merry-go-round of pain
With more positive tests, the St. Louis Cardinals are not in a good place. The future is unclear, morale surrounding 2020 is very low.
It seemed like the team was almost there. After nine days without playing baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals were gearing up to play the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Personally, I was driving back from my college apartment in Auburn, Alabama. A 10-hour drive, I wasn’t looking at my phone all day. However, like lots of other fans, I was longing for Cardinals baseball to get started again.
To my dismay, a check of the phone while getting gas at around 1 pm in the middle of Kentucky revealed bad news. “More positive tests postpone Cardinals vs Cubs.” Talk about a kick in the stomach.
If you didn’t know, one more staffer, as well as Austin Dean and Ryan Helsley, tested positive on Friday after two days of negative tests earlier in the week led to the team leaving their hotel quarantine in Milwaukee.
While two straight days of negative tests do an okay job of ensuring the spread of COVID-19 was contained, it obviously isn’t perfect. More positive tests don’t mean that those players broke protocols, it likely just means that they had the virus and it was just incubating. The issue is not with the Cardinals, it’s with the MLB’s protocols.
The team followed the MLB protocol and the virus still found its way in. Then the team followed the MLB protocol when the virus was there and the virus persisted.
In all, Last week was not a very fun time to be a Cardinals fan. All week, rumors of the players going to a casino were rampant and the organization was being publicly trashed all over the place. Even when those rumors were proven false, the team still wasn’t playing on the field.
As hard as it was for fans to see every other team continuing their season, I’m sure the players felt even worse.
While we had heard that most of those who tested positive were asymptomatic, Mike Shildt revealed that not everyone was.
While we all want to see the team get back on the field, the health of those who have tested positive is paramount. These are young athletes in the best shape of their lives, and this virus is still hitting them hard. Take this seriously.
At the base of it all, the uncertainty hurts. The team was just about to be out of the woods. Just about to put all of this behind them. Now, the entire Cubs series has been canceled along with at least the first game of the Pittsburgh series to start the beginning of the coming week. In all, the team has missed 11 games to this point. They haven’t played in 11 days and only have five games under their belt.
Very soon, it will be impossible to get a full 60 games in even with regular doubleheaders.
That is not the end of the world though. The MLB has already discussed the ability of standings to go off of winning percentage rather than total wins. For that to make sense, the Cards do need to still hit that 50-55 game mark.
After the three new positives on Friday, we didn’t get any news of new tests on Saturday. Based on what John Mozeliak said when he addressed the media on Friday, it didn’t seem that Saturday was going to be full of news, so that doesn’t mean that there are not more positives.
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We are sure to get more news on Sunday and I wouldn’t expect good news. After the two days of negative tests, all the players who tested negative headed back to St. Louis. Between then and the return of the positive tests on Friday, Ryan Helsley and Austin Dean practiced with the rest of the team.
The players, fans, and the rest of the league want the Cardinals to get back on the field as soon as possible. At this point, the team will first need to isolate at least until they get those two days of negative tests again, then make another round of roster moves.
By the time the Cardinals are cleared to play again, some of those players who tested positive the first time around could even be ready to rejoin the team.
In my eyes, it’s not time to start worrying about the league pulling the plug on the Cardinals’ season. Even if the team ends up playing some disgustingly short season, there is plenty of incentive to let the Cardinals play what they can. They just need to get healthy first.
I’m enjoying my time being back at home in St. Louis, but the city doesn’t feel the same in the summer without baseball going on. To be clear, the title here is not supposed to be flippant. This is a very serious thing, but if I had to distill how I’ve felt the last few days, a merry-go-round of pain is what it feels like.
The Cardinals are going to have to keep delaying until they are 100% sure that the virus is not afflicting any of the active players this time. Another setback like this one could be the final nail in the 2020 season. In the meantime, fans and players will have to patiently wait as almost every other team in the league continues to play. The next round of testing results will be big; Tuesday’s game against the Pirates has not yet been postponed.