Fears over the Zika virus forced Major League Baseball to relocate a planned two-game series from San Juan to Miami.
The series, scheduled for May 30-31 in Puerto Rico, now takes place at Miami Marlins Park. Major League Baseball confirmed in a release that player concerns over the Zika virus ultimately made the Caribbean trip untenable for players on the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins.
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.
The two-day series fit in with Commissioner Rob Manfred’s stated desire to expand MLB’s appeal beyond the continental United States. On Thursday night, Manfred spoke about the possibility of Montreal regaining a team in expansion and Mexico City hosting a franchise as well.
Golfers Mark Leishman and Vijay Singh cited Zika as a reason for skipping the upcoming Rio Olympics. The baseball players exerted pressure through their union to relocate the series due to similar concerns. Although the island reports just one death from the disease since the outbreak, one estimate predicts that the affliction affects one in five people in Puerto Rico by summer’s end.
“The Zika virus does not trigger symptoms in eighty percent of its carriers,” reports Breitbart’s Frances Martel. “In the twenty percent who do exhibit signs of contamination, the symptoms are described as milder forms of those associated with Dengue fever: flu-like fatigue, conjunctivitis, and fever. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an announcement … definitively concluding Zika can cause microcephaly,” a condition in which small skulls crush the brains of infants.