MLB Opening Day 2021: COVID-19 forces Mets, Nationals into first postponement of new season

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Adam Hermann
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COVID-19 forces division rivals to postpone on Opening Day originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

New baseball season, same real world problems.

The Mets and Nationals were scheduled to open their respective seasons Thursday evening in Washington, D.C., but the teams' first game of the season was postponed Thursday morning after a Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19 and five other players and staff members were forced to quarantine due to contract tracing.

ESPN's Buster Olney first reported that Thursday's game was postponed, and Olney also reported the teams have postponed Friday.

Major League Baseball confirmed Thursday at noon:

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Here's how MLB is handling COVID-19 cases this season, per the league's health and safety protocols:

"Individuals who test positive will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, receive appropriate care and monitoring from the Club medical staff, and be cleared by the Joint Committee and the individual’s team physician, following a mandatory cardiac evaluation and a determination that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others."

It's currently unclear just how much the postponement will affect upcoming schedules. The Phillies' second and fourth series of the season are scheduled to be against the Mets, with a three-game homestand starting in just four days. The Phillies aren't scheduled to face the Nationals until the second week of May.

This unfortunately marks the second straight season that the Nationals' Opening Day plans were at least partially affected by COVID-19 protocols. Last summer, on Opening Day, Washington superstar Juan Soto missed the first game of the season after he tested positive for COVID-19.

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