MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Twins will play their home opener Tuesday, but the game comes as the COVID-19 pandemic is putting the future of baseball season in doubt.
The pandemic-delayed season is barely underway, but already more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. At least three games have had to be postponed as a result, disrupting the Major League Baseball schedule.
The Twins had a great weekend against the White Sox, winning two of the three games in the series. But, there is still concern for the virus.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said the Twins are doing the best they can, but that may not be enough.
"We're not going to be able to take health for granted either, so if we stick to our plan I think we have a good chance of continuing to play and hopefully continuing to play well and keep our guys on the field,” Baldelli said. “If we stray we could have problems and frankly even if we do everything right, you don't really know."
Matt Hodson, Twins Communication Manager, said the Marlins news is just a reminder that the team needs to continue to be diligent with its health protocols.
“It’s just a reminder for us all to continue doing what our players and our staff and everyone in the organization really has already done since the first day of summer camp convened and that’s follow every single protocol to a T,” Hodson. “Right now is not the time to relax, not at all, it’s a time to be more diligent, to double up your efforts and our players and our staff have done terrific work in that regard so far. I’m sure this will be another reminder to tighten the screws even more.”
Baldelli said all the teams in the league could use a little luck right now to get through this season amid the pandemic.
“You may end up having an issue even if you do everything that you think is right and everything you want to do,” he said. “A little luck could probably help every one of us and all the teams out there in the league right now.”
Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said Tuesday all players in staff in Chicago for the opening series got tested for COVID-19 when the team returned to Minneapolis. There were no positive tests.
"Our guys from the get-go have taken this really seriously. I’ve heard from multiple players that the safest place they feel in the world is at Target Field," Falvey said. "We need to continue to be vigilant, though, we can't get complacent."
Twins' closer Taylor Rogers says it's about controlling what you can control, and the developments with the Marlins are a concern, even though they knew it was a possiblity entering the season.
"You can put protocols together and all that but you really don’t truly know how it’s going to play out as things go. Unfamiliar territory, so I think everybody just wants to take today and we’ll get today done with and if we get tomorrow, that’s great," Rogers said Tuesday afternoon. "I think you’re reminded every day that this is real. Every day you wake up, you can’t get complacent with what you’re going to be doing."
TWINS PLAN FOR FAN-LESS HOME OPENER
The Twins fan-less home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals will include a ceremonial first pitch from frontline health care workers and a tribute to Black Lives Matter and George Floyd with a moment of silence at 8:46 p.m.
The team will also spotlight some COVID-19 frontline health care workers in a video tribute. The video will feature doctors, nurses, hospitalists, lab technicians and staffers at area hospitals. The guest stars will throw out the first pitch in the video.
The “Star-Spangled Banner” and the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will both be performed by Minneapolis native Jovonta Patton before the game as well.
To honor the death of George Floyd, the game will be paused at 8:46 p.m. for a moment of silence. Target Field will also unveil a memorial graphic on the outfield wall that will remain there for the 2020 season.
The game starts at 7:10 p.m.