MLB Delays Opening Day 'At Least Two Weeks' Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Following the postponement of the NBA and NHL’s seasons, Major League Baseball announced Thursday that the 2020 season’s Opening Day will be delayed “at least two weeks” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, MLB stated that all spring training games would be canceled immediately.

“Following a call with the 30 clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic,” MLB said in a statement Thursday. “This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans.”

The 2020 Major League Baseball regular season was scheduled to begin March 26th. However, with the coronavirus pandemic causing states to put a capacity limit on events and health experts recommending that large gatherings be barred, the NBA, NHL and the NCAA have all halted operations for the foreseeable future.

In the case of the NBA, league play was suspended soon after one of its athletes, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, tested positive to COVID-19; a second teammate, Donovan Mitchell, later revealed he too had contracted the coronavirus.

Thursday afternoon, the NHL followed suit and suspended its schedule. “The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” the league said Thursday. “However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus — and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point — it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”

In all three leagues, it’s unclear what will happen when league play does resume; the NBA estimates that it could shut down for at least 30 days, pushing back its normal mid-June conclusion by a month while threatening NBA stars’ participation in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, if that event even continues as scheduled.

MLB added in their statement, “MLB and the clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.”

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