ST. LOUIS — The Cubs have had to scramble over the last 72 hours as after making it nearly an entire season, they’re experiencing a COVID outbreak.
The Cubs lost two more players for the final series of the season on Friday as outfielder Nick Martini and infielder David Bote were both placed on the injured list. The team has now had a total of four players go on the IL with COVID situations with at least one having tested positive.
“Our radar is up and it’s been that way,” manager David Ross said before Friday’s game. “I think when you have one pop positive, you have something that continues to linger over your head.
“You hold your breath and there could be nothing come of it. And then there’s what we’ve seen happen [this week], there could be kind of a slow drip. So we’re hoping to get through this season healthy and still continue to perform and finish this thing out at a challenging time.”
Ross said that none of the players who are out are dealing with any serious symptoms due to the virus. He noted that a few are dealing with some congestion.
But if there’s a surprise in the Cubs’ current COVID outbreak, it’s not that it happened. It’s that it didn’t happen sooner. It’s ironic that the Cubs had no player test positive for COVID-19 last season, but couldn’t reach the 85% vaccination rate established by MLB.
“It’s disappointing to not be at 85% as a team,” president Jed Hoyer said earlier this season. “We’ve worked hard to try and convince or educate the people that have been reluctant.”
Conversely, the Cardinals, who the Cubs face this weekend, had an outbreak that nearly shutdown the entire sport in 2020 and were the first team to reach 85% this season. St. Louis has not had a single player test positive this season.
The Cubs shouldn’t need any eye openers after going through last season’s 60-game gauntlet while the world battled a global pandemic. But the team had several before the outbreak ever took place.
Not only did first base coach Craig Driver and bullpen coach Chris Young test positive for COVID earlier this season, Ross and president Jed Hoyer tested positive last month. All four were vaccinated. Pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, who is also vaccinated, had a serious bout with the virus last year.
“I think like we can look back and say did or didn’t we take things for granted, right? I think this shows that nobody’s immune to it,” Ross said. “I don’t think anybody knows where these things stem from and it’s the world we’re living in, but yeah, we definitely wish this wasn’t the case.”
Not only does the Cubs’ outbreak pose a serious health risk to the team’s personnel, not only those on the field, but off the field. It also puts them at a serious competitive disadvantage.
The Cubs aren’t going to the postseason and will go into the offseason after this weekend. But what if they were in playoff contention or locked into a spot in the postseason going into this final weekend? They’d be in a no-win situation both on and off the field.
Hoyer and Ross both voiced their frustration that players were slow about getting vaccinated despite having multiple resources and providing them with avenues to do their research.
While the team never reached the 85% threshold, Ross noted on Friday that some who were not convinced early have finally come around.
“I would say I don’t know where we’re at in the exact moment with all the guys that are in there now,” Ross said. “But I definitely will say we had a number of guys that did not get vaccinated to start the season get vaccinated.”
The Cubs’ outbreak could continue to get worse as the weekend unfolds. As the team has seen the last three days, they can only wait and hope the latest trend doesn’t continue.
Source by chicago.suntimes.com