Perhaps it was inevitable.

In the last few days, the world of sports has come to a
screeching halt as a handful of players tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
It started with soccer players in Europe, and eventually reached the NBA where
three known players have already tested positive for the coronavirus. It was
only a matter of time before the virus infiltrated other sports as well.

On Sunday, it seeped into Major League Baseball.

The New York Yankees were the first professional baseball
team to announce that one of their minor league players had tested positive for
COVID-19. The team stated that the unidentified player was quarantined on
Friday after developing a fever.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the news of the
positive test.

A minor league player in the New York Yankees system has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell ESPN. He is the first known case in baseball. He was quarantined Friday morning after saying he was running a fever.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 15, 2020

The positive test will certainly have a ripple effect in the
MLB world. Likely, the entirety of the Yankees roster, both on the major league
and minor league side will have to be tested for the virus.

As of the publication of this story, the team has already
told all of their minor league
players to self-quarantine for the next two weeks.

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More than likely, the entire spring training facility will
shut down—if t hasn’t already—and a timeline of who the unknown player came in
contact with and if he had any contact with players from other teams, will be of
vital importance.

Earlier on Sunday, MLB sent out a memo to all 30 teams,
encouraging all organizations to avoid any activities that involves players and
people congregating in significant numbers.

“The risk of a player in a Club facility contracting
the virus is real,” read part of the memo.

Originally, after the announcement on Thursday that MLB was
suspending their spring training season and delaying the start of the regular
season, spring training facilities were to remain open to allow players to
continue to work out and prepare.

Shortly thereafter, the league announced that facilities
would close and players would have a choice to either return home, return to
their home market, or remain in their spring training city (either Arizona or
Florida).

NBC LA spoke to a handful of players on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and most of them were deciding between remaining in Arizona, or returning to Los Angeles. A lot of players are renting homes in the Arizona area with rental agreements that expire next week.

Originally, MLB announced that the regular season would only be delayed “two weeks.” NBC LA has learned that the original tentative timetable has played a significant factor in players decisions of where to stay during the suspension. Many players were under the impression that the season could begin on April 9, making a move to their home market for the next few weeks the most convenient.

However, after Sunday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that all gatherings of more than 50 people should be cancelled for at least the next eight weeks. The likelihood of the MLB season starting in April appears to be rather bleak.

In all likelihood, the eight-week barometer is probably more
accurate, meaning the MLB season could begin at the end of May or the beginning
of June. A lot of players, Dodgers included, need to ask themselves: “If
there’s no baseball, which city would I rather spend the next two months
in?”

It will be interesting to see if the announcement of the
first baseball player to test positive has a ripple effect on the major league
level, and if any other positive tests are still to come.

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