The discussion started a couple months ago as the Zika virus made its way into Puerto Rico. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins are scheduled to play a two game series there on May 30 and 3
The problem is that many of the Pirate players are expecting children or thinking about having families…..and are very aware of the risk of birth defects from the Zika Virus to those children. The fact that the Zika virus can be given from a player to their spouse “from exchanging bodily fluids” makes leaving the family back in Pittsburgh an ineffective way to avoid the terrible risk of life long hardship caused by a single bite of a tiny mosquito.
On May 3, the Pirate players met with representatives from Major League Baseball and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in their clubhouse at PNC Park to discuss Zika virus.
The final decision has not been made, but birth defects are forever and it is a serious discussion weighing down on the players. One possibility is extra precautions will be taken like pretreatment of the area or even relocating the game.
Pittsburgh Pirate union representative Gerrit Cole said “the meeting was about educating everybody.” The league and the player's association need to “get together and continue to figure this out.”
If the game does go on, look for Mosquito Terminators CEO and Pirate fan John Russell to be out spraying the area as a pre-event spray program. John quipped, “The game is like any other pre-event protective spray program we do…..just maybe 30,000 more people and a bigger area. Hey, a graduation party or wedding is even more important than baseball to our customers.”