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MLB suspends spring training, will push back Opening Day at least 2 weeks

4 years agoTony Andracki

Major League Baseball announced its plans to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and decided to suspend spring training indefinitely and will push back Opening Day at least two weeks.

The league released a statement Thursday afternoon:

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. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.

MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. ET today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.

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.

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

That puts MLB in line with the rest of the sports world, as the NBA shut down action Wednesday night. Elsewhere, the NHL and MLS are taking similar precautions while the top NCAA conferences canceled their tournaments and multiple programs have withdrawn from March Madness.

The question now becomes — what happens next? Will there be any other spring training or exhibition action after the ban is lifted?

It’s a concern players are thinking about, too:

The Cubs were slated for another two weeks of Cactus League action and were originally supposed to open the 2020 regular season March 26 in Milwaukee.

With Opening Day pushed back at least two weeks, that means the earliest the Cubs would play a meaningful game would be sometime in mid-April, though that is obviously still up in the air.

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