A week after they were meant to travel back to Miami to face the Orioles last week but never did due to a COVID-19 outbreak that reached over half of their clubhouse, the Miami Marlins boarded buses Sunday evening to bring them to Baltimore for their return to baseball Tuesday at Camden Yards.
Their reemergence onto the baseball schedule after Major League Baseball paused their season to allow them to get hold of the outbreak will solidify what the league's response to the virus made clear: Their plan, however they can, is to play ball.
"Hopefully, this has been a wake-up call for everyone," Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter said Monday.
The two teams will play four games over three days beginning Tuesday at Camden Yards, with a scheduled doubleheader beginning at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday, provided the remnants of Hurricane Isaias doesn't alter those plans.
The doubleheader will feature two seven-inning games as Major League Baseball looks to limit stress on teams in the shortened season. The second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the first ends.
The Orioles will be the home team for the first two games of the series, and then the visitors for the next two. The Tuesday and Thursday games will start at 7:35 p.m., and all will be broadcast by MASN.
The four-game series was originally scheduled from July 27-28 in Miami and July 29-30 in Baltimore.
In all, 18 Marlins players tested positive. They, along with staff members who tested positive, were bused back to Miami last week to quarantine there. The players who did not test positive had been quarantined in Philadelphia as well, and will be joined by players from the Marlins' secondary camp and recent acquisitions, including former Orioles relief pitcher Richard Bleier on Tuesday in Baltimore.
Those players who came from Philadelphia have been tested daily, and the team has registered no positive tests for the past three days. However, since their most recent interactions with teammates who tested positive was over a week ago, the league has determined they're safe to continue playing. That said, their return to play comes before the recommended 14-day quarantine for those with potential exposure to the virus are to take, per CDC guidelines.
Dr. David Thomas, chief of infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said safe is relative and there are degrees of risk akin to driving on the Jones Falls Expressway in Baltimore: "It's never safe, but the risk varies and sometimes is justifiable.