MLB to further delay season due to CDC’s coronavirus guideline

Mar 16, 2020, 12:28 PM
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)...
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball announced Monday that it will follow a CDC recommendation and push back the start of its regular season for at least eight weeks.

This comes after the CDC recommended Sunday that events involving 50 or more people be postponed or canceled for eight weeks as the outbreak of coronavirus continues to impact life in ways big and small.

MLB had already pushed back its season, announcing last week that it would push opening day back two weeks. Spring training games were canceled and World Baseball Classic qualifier games were postponed. The NBA and NHL both have their seasons on a hiatus. The NFL’s key dates are still in place, although visiting with draft prospects and free agents has been restricted.

The most recent statement from MLB on Monday said commissioner Rob Manfred conducted a conference call with all 30 teams that same morning.

“The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” the statement said. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit.

“MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.”

Eight weeks from Sunday would put MLB at a possible start day of May 10, but because of the cancellation of spring training, it’s not clear how much time teams would need to ramp up players into game readiness or to have internal competition for roster construction.

On Friday, the Diamondbacks said their spring training facility would remain open to players only on an optional basis, but that players would be allowed to go home. GM Mike Hazen said he predicted many of the minor league players would go home, since they don’t typically live in the Phoenix area as the major league players do.

It’s also not clear how the regular season schedule would shake out once it begins, or if fans will be allowed at games right away. By May 10, the D-backs would have already missed four series against divisional opponents. Arizona is scheduled to host the New York Mets at Chase Field on May 11.

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