Baseball Analyst Says Cardinals Players Visited a Casino Before COVID-19 Outbreak Hit Team

Baseball Gaming News Gaming News MLB Sports

By Steve Bittenbender

The St. Louis Cardinals became the latest Major League Baseball team to have players test positive for COVID-19, and a broadcast analyst insinuated that a trip to a casino may be to blame.

Former major leaguer Jerry Hairston, Jr. made the claim Saturday on Twitter after news that the Cardinals game that day against the Milwaukee Brewers would be postponed. The Friday contest between the two squads was also postponed after the Cardinals learned Thursday players tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Cardinals tests come after the Miami Marlins saw their season suspended earlier this week after testing discovered that more than half the team had contracted the virus.

A few Marlins go to a club & now hearin a few Cardinals went to a Casino? That’s not following protocols,” Hairston tweeted. “#MLB Players are furious cause 28 other teams have worked hard to follow guidelines.”

An MLB press release Saturday indicated that two St. Louis players initially tested positive, which led to the league testing the entire team. That round of tests on Friday uncovered one more possible positive from a player.

On Saturday evening, MLB announced a doubleheader scheduled Sunday between the Brewers and Cardinals has been postponed.

The Marlins outbreak also affected the Philadelphia Phillies, who hosted the Marlins during the outbreak. Philadelphia is expected to resume play on Monday at the New York Yankees, while the Marlins could get back on the field as early as Tuesday in Baltimore.

No other teams reported positive tests on Friday, MLB announced.

Casinos by Busch Stadium

Where might Cardinals players have visited a casino?

On Wednesday, when the initial Cardinals tests led to the positives, St. Louis was wrapping up a two-game series in Minnesota, where tribal casino gaming is allowed. However, none is located in Minneapolis near the Twins field.

Prior to that, the Cardinals opened the season at home with a three-game series last weekend against Pittsburgh. Two casinos are located within a mile of Busch Stadium, Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel in downtown St. Louis and the newly rebranded DraftKings at Casino Queen across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Ill.

Both casinos have reopened under their respective state government’s guidelines, which include operating at reduced capacity.

COVID-19 Impact on MLB Betting

Unlike the NBA and NHL, which are using bubble systems where players and staff are staying at restricted hotels and cannot leave without permission, Major League Baseball is allowing teams to travel within regions to play a truncated 60-game schedule.

Prior to the season starting, David Main, the head of US sports trading for BetMGM, told Casino.org, COVID-19 could have a drastic effect on betting lines.

“I’m expecting there to be some fairly significant price movements on the games each day around player news… Not to mention that impact a positive Covid-19 test may have on a team, particularly if multiple players test positive,” Main said.

The news of players testing positive has led to some people wondering if MLB should stop play entirely or even go so far as cancel the season.

Commissioner Rob Manfred shot down any thoughts of suspending the entire season in an interview ESPN on Saturday. However, he added that COVID-19 may keep teams from playing all 60 games by the time the regular season ends on Sept. 27.

“We’ve got to be flexible on that,” Manfred told the Associated Press. “Look, this is one of the reasons that we revisited the issue off the expanded playoffs. If it turns out that some guys play 60, some guys play 58, they have this new thing called winning percentage. We can sort that out.”

Teams not playing a full 60-game schedule could effect some futures bets made on total wins for teams. Some sportsbooks stipulated the bets would only be valid if the team played all 60 games.