The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins were scheduled to travel the American territory of Puerto Rico for a series late this month.
It would have been the first regular season Major League Baseball series in the territory, and was slated to take place in the beach-side capital city of San Juan.
Unfortunately, it appears that MLB is on the verge of cancelling what would be a historical two-game set:
“The fear of Zika virus, palpable as ever in the aftermath of the Center for Disease Control report this week that linked a death in Puerto Rico to the mosquito-borne illness, is not scaring away all of baseball,” Yahoo! Sports baseball insider Jeff Passan reported. “It has, however, pushed the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins, scheduled in San Juan on May 30-31, to the brink of cancellation, multiple sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.”
The Zika virus is spread through people, “primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has issued an alert for travel to areas of the world in which the disease is spreading. On Monday, the first death from this virus was reported in Puerto Rico. The CDC indicates that one person with Zika died between November of last year and April of 2016.
This is the likeliest reason Major League Baseball is on the verge of cancelling the series.
With the reported death and the travel alert from the CDC, there’s simply no reason for the health of players, employees of the two organizations and family members of all involved to be put at risk.
As Passan reported, this comes as nearly 100 scouts and executives around the baseball world traveled to the territory to watch high school shortstop Delvin Perez, a likely first-round pick in June’s draft, work out.
It’s not yet known whether MLB’s decision is a direct result of Pirates and Marlins players coming together in an effort to move the series to Miami. Though, that likely played a role.
Interestingly enough, this virus outbreak could also have an impact on the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, one of the countries affected by Zika.