Major League Baseball has canceled spring training and delayed opening day by at least two weeks over concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Spring training will stop as of 4 p.m. ET Thursday. MLB made the announcement after commissioner Rob Manfred’s call with owners.
MLB will delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks. All Spring Training games have been suspended. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. Full release: pic.twitter.com/tHDIDCHPkP
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 12, 2020
The NBA became the first major American league to suspend its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and other sports’ governing bodies have since moved quickly to cancel other competitions such as college basketball conference tournaments and soccer matches.
The decision came down from the league as teams played Grapefruit League games in front of crowds around Florida’s spring training camps. MLB’s regular season had been scheduled to begin on March 26.
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward told reporters players would support caution. “We just want to be safe,” he said.
The league had been considering fallback options in case early season games could not be played at their scheduled locations. It was already known that the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics would have to move their home-opening series.
After the NBA’s outbreak, things appeared to move more rapidly toward a wider response.
Max Scherzer when asked about athletes in other sports contracting coronavirus: " I think we’d be kind of naive to think that there’s not one player in any one of the camps across MLB right now that has not contracted it yet."
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) March 12, 2020
Earlier reports indicated that some teams began to pull scouts off the road and send them home because of coronavirus concerns on Wednesday.
“You know, if something happened during the season to a player, it’s at least two weeks they have to wait in quarantine, everybody,” Todd Frazier told reporters Wednesday. “It could be a crazy season for a team, because if you miss 14 days, that’s basically 12, 13 games of baseball, you basically can’t get back or have to start over at the end of the year. We’ll see what happens.”
Minor League Baseball season suspended
Hours after the announcement from MLB, Minor League Baseball officials decided to the delay the start of the regular season until April 9.
The start of the Minor League season, scheduled for April 9, will be delayed. pic.twitter.com/lYikB3OhPa
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) March 12, 2020
There’s no word from MLB or MiLB on whether the games missed will be made up or the leagues will go on with a shortened season.
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