|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 08:31 pm||
|The potential cancellation of a series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins set to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 30-31 due to concerns over the Zika virus has irked country officials, who aren't happy with the idea being proposed.
"It's an outrageous situation," head of the tourism commission for Puerto Rico's House of Representatives, Angel Matos, told Luis Fabgregas and Ben Schmitt from the Tribune-Review. "The reality is that this cancellation is unfair, disproportionate, and makes our country look bad. It's an act of touristic terrorism."
Players from both teams reportedly banded together to let MLB know they'd prefer the games be moved to Miami after learning of the virus' presence in Puerto Rico. MLB is not expected to oppose the players' requests.
The virus has already affected nearly 5,000 people in Brazil, and cancelling the series could potentially cost Puerto Rico close to $2 million, which has already been invested in the event, and another $5 million in estimated revenue generated from the series.
Puerto Rican representatives are also upset over the lack of respect a cancellation would show towards home-grown product and former Pirates outfielder Robert Clemente.
Zika, which may cause microcephaly, a birth defect that leads to smaller heads in babies, has also made its way to Miami, where 90 cases of the virus have been found.
"So they're not coming (to Puerto Rico), and they're going to play in Miami, where there's also Zika?" Matos said.
Cancelling the trip would be a blow to MLB's developing relationship with Puerto Rico, which was hoping for a boost from the league's presence in the country amid its debt crisis of almost $70 billion, and the Zika situation.