Report: MLB Mandates Compliance Officers After Marlins COVID-19 Outbreak

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 30, 2020

FILE - In this Friday, July 24, 2020, file photo, Miami Marlins' Jesus Aguilar, right, celebrates a 5-2 win with teammates following a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia. The Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak could endanger the Major League Baseball season, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, as the number of their players testing positive rose to 15. The Marlins received positive test results for four additional players Tuesday, July 23, 2020, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

All 30 Major League Baseball teams must name COVID-19 compliance officers in light of 18 members of the Miami Marlins' traveling party (including 16 players) testing positive for COVID-19 in recent days, per ESPN's Jeff Passan:

"...Major League Baseball is encouraging players not to leave hotels in road cities except for games, mandating the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks during travel and requiring every team to travel with a compliance officer who ensures players and staff properly follow the league's protocol, sources told ESPN."

Passan also outlined some of the responsibilities that COVID-19 compliance officers will have for each ballclub.

"On buses, the compliance officer will arrange seating chartsand, in some cases, separate groups of friends likelier to run afoul of the six-foot rule, which the league is treating as sacrosanct along with the adoption of surgical mask use for all. The compliance person, who will be designated with rare Tier 1 credential status given to essential personnel such as players, managers, coaches and training staff, will submit reports and monitor hotels."

No positive COVID-19 tests have emerged outside the Marlins since the MLB season began on Thursday, July 23, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, although one team's outbreak has caused logistical issues for other franchises.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who played a three-game series against the Marlins prior to the positive tests results being publicly revealed, also have not played since Sunday.

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The New York Yankees were scheduled to face the Phils this week, and the Baltimore Orioles were supposed to face the Marlins. With those series off the table, the Yanks and O's were matched against each other Wednesday and Thursday as MLB tries to squeeze games in during a tight two-month window prior to the postseason.

There's no concrete timetable for when the Marlins will return to the field, nor is there a decision on how the team will fill out its roster at this time. A three-game series with the Washington Nationals scheduled to begin Friday has already been postponed.

MLB is attempting to hold a 60-game regular season over a two-month period prior to a 16-team postseason amid the pandemic, which forced the league to delay the start of its season by four months and cut it short by 102 games per team.

COVID-19 protocols are in place leaguewide, including social distancing in dugout areas, mask-wearing, a ban on spitting and more.

Players and coaches also receive COVID-19 testing and have the option to sit out the season due to concerns related to the disease, which has caused over 4.26 million confirmed cases in the United States alone, per the World Health Organization.

Now MLB has instituted compliance officers as it looks to prevent more outbreaks during the truncated 2020 campaign.