RI­VALRY SE­RIES IS COVID VIC­TIM

Cubs’ week­end set with Car­di­nals post­poned; Ep­stein calls it ‘ab­so­lutely the right thing to do’

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - BY RUS­SELL DORSEY | rdorsey@sun­times.com | @russ_­dorsey1

What felt like an in­evitable out­come for the Cubs ear­lier in the week has be­come an un­for­tu­nate re­al­ity.

The Cubs’ se­ries against the Car­di­nals in St. Louis was post­poned Fri­day af­ter at least one Car­di­nals player tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19. The pos­i­tive test comes a week af­ter the Car­di­nals were hit by MLB’s sec­ond out­break, with 13 mem­bers of their trav­el­ing party test­ing pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus.

“Based on the in­for­ma­tion MLB has shared with us, post­pon­ing this se­ries is a nec­es­sary step to pro­tect the health and safety of the Car­di­nals and the Cubs,” pres­i­dent Theo Ep­stein said in a state­ment. “There­fore, it is ab­so­lutely the right thing to do. While it’s ob­vi­ously less than ideal, this is 2020 and we will em­brace what­ever steps are nec­es­sary to pro­mote player and staff well-be­ing and in­crease our chances of com­plet­ing this sea­son in safe fash­ion. We will be ready to go on Tues­day in Cleve­land. In the mean­time, we wish the Car­di­nals per­son­nel in­volved a quick and com­plete re­cov­ery.”

Cubs play­ers, coach­ing staff and front of­fice have put on a brave face amid base­ball’s re­cent out­breaks and while they’ve ac­knowl­edged the lack of con­trol the sport has over the pan­demic, the or­ga­ni­za­tion would con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing in its power to keep ev­ery­one safe.

One is­sue that can not be ig­nored is that the Car­di­nals pos­i­tive tests are not only af­fect­ing them, but af­fect­ing other teams in base­ball.

The Car­di­nals al­ready have had to post­pone their se­ries with the Brew­ers and Tigers, and the sta­tus of the lat­est tests is un­known.

The Car­di­nals also are sched­uled to play the White Sox next week.

“I do think that is a con­cern. You sort of as­sume we don’t play the same sched­ule, but roughly the same sched­ule and this is a com­pet­i­tive busi­ness. We’re all look­ing to make the play­offs and look­ing to win a cham­pi­onship and you want peo­ple to be com­pet­ing in the same way,” gen­eral man­ager Jed Hoyer said last week.

The Cubs are still MLB’s only team with­out a pos­i­tive COVID-19 test by a player since the orig­i­nal in­take, but play­ing the Car­di­nals this week­end would pose a ma­jor risk to the team’s seem­ingly seam­less han­dling of the si­t­u­a­tion.

The Car­di­nals held a work­out on Thurs­day af­ter quar­an­tin­ing in Mil­wau­kee for seven days. It’s pos­si­ble that play­ers and coaches could have un­know­ingly been ex­posed to the virus dur­ing the team’s work­out by the in­fected player.

Play­ers have voiced their day-to-day ap­proach with the virus, but you can tell with each pos­i­tive test, there is still grow­ing con­cern about the threat these out­breaks pose not only to their health, but the health of their fam­i­lies.

“I think there’s al­ways con­cern,” Jon Lester said last week. “I think there was con­cern com­ing in — Day 1. That con­cern ob­vi­ously hasn’t gone down. I think all that we can re­ally do is worry about the Chicago Cubs. I know that kind of sounds self­ish with ev­ery­thing go­ing on in the world. You don’t ever wish any­body to get sick or any­thing like that. But if we con­tinue to fol­low our pro­to­cols that we have in place as the Chicago Cubs and the pro­to­cols that MLB has in place, I feel like it puts us in a good po­si­tion to suc­ceed.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that this stuff keeps pop­ping up. But I mean, it re­ally is kind of the world that we’re in right now. And we just have to keep plow­ing for­ward and hope­fully try to play some more base­ball.” ✶

“I think there was con­cern com­ing in — day 1. That con­cern ob­vi­ously hasn’t gone down. I think all that we can re­ally do is worry about the Chicago Cubs.”

JON LESTER, on how the cubs view the on­go­ing prob­lems cre­ated by the coro­n­avirus

JEFF ROBER­SON/AP

The Car­di­nals con­tinue to be plagued by COVID-19 is­sues. The team also had se­ries against the Brew­ers and Tigers post­poned.

ORLIN WAG­NER/AP

David Ross’ team will be idle un­til Tues­day, when the Cubs will play the In­di­ans in Cleve­land.

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