In the midst of the concern surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that all remaining Cactus and Grapefruit League games have been cancelled and that the start of the 2020 regular season would be pushed back by at least two weeks.
“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 league said in a statement. “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.”
With the MLS, NBA, and NHL are putting their seasons on hold within the last 24 hours, it was only a matter of time until Major League Baseball followed suit.
There had been discussions about potentially playing games in empty stadiums or at neutral locations that have yet to be stricken by the ever-spreading coronavirus, but postponing the start of the season seems to be the most optimal way to go here for all parties involved.
Two weeks from March 26th is April 9th, when the Red Sox are supposed to be opening up a four-game series against the Mariners in Seattle.
If April 9th is actually the new Opening Day, which appears unlikely at this point, those games would presumably not be played in Seattle given how hard the state of Washington has been hit during this pandemic.
That’s all tentative, though. For now, it looks like the Red Sox could still be hanging around the Fenway South facility in Fort Myers for the time being and still holding their own practices and workouts to remain in playing shape. That goes for the other 29 clubs as well, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
There are still plenty of questions to be answered regarding all this, and when more information becomes available I’ll be sure to keep this updated. So stay tuned for that.
UPDATE: Minor League Baseball will also delay the start of their season, which was originally scheduled to begin on April 9th.