The Washington Nationals had a player test positive for COVID-19 on Monday while the team was still in Florida for Spring Training. During the flight home, there were four players and one staff member who had close contact with the player. Those five were forced into quarantine after contract tracing was conducted.
Now, the seemingly inevitable has happened. Thursday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Nationals, who were set to be down at least five players, have had their Opening Day game against the New York Mets postponed by the MLB.
The game was set to be played at 7 PM at Nationals Park.
The Mets-Nationals game tonight is being postponed, re COVID issues.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 1, 2021
The Nationals confirmed the game had been postponed shortly before noon in a statement. They revealed the team would not play on Friday either.
Tonight’s scheduled game between the host Washington Nationals and the New York Mets at Nationals Park has been postponed because of ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization.
Out of an abundance of caution, the game will not be made up on Friday. We will continue to provide updates as available.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 1, 2021
According to The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli, the Nationals are believed to be dealing with two positive cases now.
The other positive test was a rapid. Nats are waiting on the PCR test results, I’m told. https://t.co/ZrmjLpVRQE
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) April 1, 2021
The Nationals have not revealed the players affected by the positive tests or who is quarantining.
Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reported that the Nats called up Luis García, Sam Clay, Tres Barrera, and Yadiel Hernandez to their Opening Day roster.
The Nationals were set to welcome 5,000 fans into Nats Park Thursday for the first time since Game Five of the World Series in 2019.
Mark Lerner, the Nationals’ owner, wrote in a blog post that things would be different at Nats Park due to new COVID-19 precautions:
For those who are coming to Opening Day and other games, you will notice many changes around the ballpark. The health and safety of our fans is of the utmost importance to our organization and we have implemented many new safety measures to create social distance and eliminate crowding throughout the ballpark. I encourage everyone who is planning to visit Nationals Park to familiarize themselves with the new protocols at nationals.com/WelcomeHome.
Although there will be some things that feel different at the ballpark, I think we will all feel that familiar rush when the Nats run onto the field for the first time and the game gets underway. Opening Day will certainly be a star-studded contest, with two Cy Young Award winners on the mound and several powerful bats in each lineup.
The Nationals’ finished last in the East Division last season with a 26-34 record.
* Win World Series
* Never get to celebrate at Opening Day because of a global pandemic, which, granted, is important
* Two years later, 5,000 people will be allowed to celebrate it on a cold, windy night
* Nope! Postponed! For…a global pandemic!
Good luck replicating that one
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 1, 2021
Headline photo: Nationals logo with grass photo from Pixabay
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