On Friday, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA announced that the Pirates-Marlins series scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico on May 30th and 31st would be moved to Miami over concerns about the Zika virus in San Juan.
MLB released a statement about the move.
The Players Association requested that Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. relocate the games after numerous players expressed concerns about contracting and potentially transmitting the Zika virus to their partners. Players and staff of both Clubs received full briefings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) science staff regarding the risks associated with the Zika virus, and the recommended precautions for travelers including those with partners who are pregnant or attempting to conceive. After discussing the issue with all involved parties, and consulting with federal and Puerto Rican government officials at the highest levels, Commissioner Manfred decided that the players who objected to the trip because of their specific family situations should not be forced to travel to Puerto Rico. Because too many regulars on both Clubs fell into that category, Commissioner Manfred had no choice but to relocate the games.
MLB also announced that they would be holding events in Puerto Rico as a replacement for the games being moved while also donating to the CDC Foundation to help end Zika’s effects on the country.
In lieu of the games, MLB will stage several youth baseball and community events in Puerto Rico later this month, which will be attended by Commissioner Manfred and several former MLB players. Both MLB and the Players Association also will make contributions to the CDC Foundation to assist the efforts to eradicate Zika in Puerto Rico.
This isn’t a surprising turn of events. There were rumblings earlier this week that the series was in jeopardy, and a decision would need to be made soon because of the logistics of relocating the games. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in regards to Zika and the Summer Olympics, as the virus has caused plenty of concern in Rio de Janeiro in recent months.