Dexter Fowler of the Saint Louis Cardinals was placed on the injured list Sept. 3 despite not being physically injured. This move from the Cardinals was solely precautionary. Due to a medication that could impact Fowler’s immune system, it was decided that it’d be best for him to sit out due to the complication that could occur if Fowler contracted COVID-19.
This decision is one of many that is intended to keep the players safe and minimize the impact that COVID-19 could have on the baseball season.
“They [the players and coaches] are travelling unlike basketball and hockey, who are in bubbles, so they are at higher risk,” KMOV sports commentator Doug Vaughn said. “The cardinals and every other team are taking all precautions they can.”
The Cardinals had one of the most significant breakouts in all of sports so far. With seven players and six staff members having contracted the disease, the Cardinals were at a disadvantage compared to other teams. The Cardinals had to temporarily play without catcher Yadier Molina and shortstop Paul DeJong. Fortunately, no players were hospitalized and everyone has since recovered.
“I think they are doing what they can. All of the players who have gotten it have not had bad cases because of their health and physical conditions,” Vaughn said. “Overall, I’m not especially concerned with the risk of the players getting the disease, I am more concerned about how it could affect the season and our playoff chances.”
The MLB is playing on a shortened schedule for 2020 since the season started late while the league was working on precautions. While the normal baseball season consists of 162 games, this year will have only 60. Forty of those games will be against division rivals, and the remaining 20 are inter league games against teams in the sister division. Fans are also not allowed in the stadium.
“I miss the fans because they change the game and it has shown,” sophomore Dominic Oldani said. “Teams that would sell out have struggled without fans.”
Besides affecting the players and the game, the lack of fans has affected downtown St. Louis. Many restaurants in the area rely on traffic from baseball games to operate. With the lack of physical crowds, it’s hard for them to stay in business.
“A lot of businesses and bars will not be getting filled near Busch Stadium,” Vaughn said “In a city where we get 40,000 fans per game, it’s a serious blow to our town.”
The Cardinals have played 28 of the 60 scheduled games, but CBS Sports has estimated that there is a 68% chance of them making the playoffs.
“I am really excited to see how the playoffs go,” Oldani said. “There are teams that didn’t have a chance before that might make it.”