MLB Optimistically Delays Regular Season by “At Least” Two Weeks

The COVID-19 virus aka Coronavirus has ground the world to a halt. Every day life has been disrupted and it’s only the beginning.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned gatherings of over 500 people, halted all Broadway productions, canceled the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and has basically shut the city down. Many people are working from home (if they can) as the virus – and the fear of the unknown – has taken a stranglehold on the physical economic health of the Big Apple.

The NBA and NHL have suspended operations and the Big East Basketball Tournament was shut down at halftime at Madison Square Garden during the St. John’s-Creighton game on Thursday afternoon.

Major League Baseball has followed suit with the following statement from the league office:

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.

What that means is we have no idea when Opening Day will take place. For the time being, teams are expected to continue working out at their spring training facilities.

Two weeks is an optimistically low timeframe for the delay. Experts have no idea when this virus will peak around the country. General estimates are anywhere from six weeks to three months with possible recurring outbreaks throughout the year.

The Mets were to open the regular season at CitiField on Thursday, March 26 against the World Champion Washington Nationals. After a three-game set with the Nats, the Phillies were due to come in for three. After that, the Mets were scheduled to hit the road on a nine-game road trip to Philadelphia, Houston and Milwaukee.

All of that is off the table, now. That’s 12 games gone that probably won’t be made up. More to come as this story continues to unfold.

NBA Season Postponed for Foreseeable Future

NBA

What a surreal 24 hours it has been for the world of professional (and amateur) sports. It seems like the massive announcement of Golden State and Brooklyn playing in front of an empty arena made Wednesday morning is ancient history at this point. If you have any access to a television, radio, or social media, you have heard by now that the NBA and all other Professional Sports Leagues are suspending play until further notice.

The unforeseen chain of events starting with Rudy Gobert

As the Oklahoma City Thunder prepared to play the Utah Jazz last night, Chris Paul wandered over to the Jazz bench. “Where’s Rudy?” he asked. “Get away!” the bench replied, motioning for Paul to get away from them. Shortly after, it was announced the game would be canceled, and both teams headed back to their locker rooms. The game was canceled because Utah Jazz, big man Rudy Gobert, tested positive for coronavirus.

Gobert, who was seen in a video mocking the coronavirus by touching all the microphones after a recent press conference, was not in the arena for the Thunder Jazz game, but unfortunately also infected fellow teammate Donovan Mitchell. Jazz players seem to be upset with Gobert, as several anonymously claimed Gobert has been touching his teammate’s belongings in the locker room before he was tested positive. The Jazz Thunder game was immediately canceled before tipoff.

Shortly after the Gobert news, the NBA reacted quickly, by suspending the rest of the season. While several games were played out last night, including the ESPN game featuring the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, the 10:30 pm EST game between the Kings and Pelicans was also canceled, due to one of the officials present being possibly infected since he had called a Jazz game earlier that week.

From Ryan Ruocco and Doris Burke announcing the Nuggets Mavs game to the video of Mark Cuban receiving the news on his phone, there was a certain shock and uncertainty watching yesterday’s ESPN broadcast. You could even tell with some of the players on the court were affected, as the 2nd half of the Mavs Nuggets game was sloppy on both sides. In the Hawks Knicks game, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce took advantage of a dire situation by putting Vince Carter in the game with 30 seconds left in what might be his final game ever. Carter immediately hit a three-pointer, and the crowd went wild.

Today, the NHL and MLB suspended operations until further notice. Every conference canceled their individual tournaments in the NCAA. While the NCAA tournament is scheduled to be played without fans in the arenas, the thought is that Mark Emert will most likely postpone the tournament to a later date.

These are scary times we live in right now. We all hold our breath as the sports world, and society as a whole, wait for this horrible virus to run its course.

Major League Baseball Operations Suspended Indefinitely

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The Coronavirus has been a national pandemic that has forced the NBA and NCAA to halt their seasons severely. Major League Baseball is the next domino to fall as the growing concern for the safety of players, fans, and other members working in baseball.

The decision comes with the harsh reality of the virus, not slowing down anytime soon. There is no word on when baseball will resume again and will all but guarantee the delay of the regular season. Large public gatherings have been canceled or severely restricted, which has been another reason for MLB to close the doors on baseball.

More Than Baseball

Sports have always been the one place people can fall back to when America has suffered through tough times, but there is no haven from the Coronavirus. The concern is that players can also bring the disease home to their families and other loved ones. The choice comes at a no-brainer during a time where the health concerns have rapidly increased across the nation.

The NHL is the last in-season professional sports league still standing. With all likelihood, they will have to suspend their season as the cases on the virus continue to grow worldwide. This pandemic has swept the nation in a way that nothing has during our lifetimes. Hopefully, the strict measures taken now could allow baseball and other sports to restart sooner rather than later.

New York Giants And Jets Taking Safety Precautions To Avoid COVID-19

NFL, Football

The NFL’s new league year is in jeopardy. The worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is now having a serious impact on the sports industry. The NBA announced yesterday that they will be suspending their season. The NHL and MLS have followed their lead.

March Madness, the start of the MLB season, and now even the NFL offseason, too, are in jeopardy. Free agency was set to begin next week and according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rappoport, the NFL has no plans to move the start of the new league year. Free agency is still scheduled to begin on March 18th, however, teams around the league will be changing their offseason strategies in order to protect themselves from the risk of COVID-19.

The Jets and Giants No Longer Traveling

According to Ian Rappoport, “the New York Giants are among the teams pulling coaches off the road for workouts and Pro Days.” The Gmen’s pre-draft process has been cut short. Rappoport also reported that the New York Jets will be doing the same. All of their scouts and coaches have also been pulled off the road.

The NFL is not requiring that teams do this. Teams will make decisions at their own discretion. But it is expected that most teams in the league will follow the same protocol. These necessary actions could make it difficult for NFL teams to meet with free agents and conduct physicals.

COVID-19 is lethal and fast-spreading. NFL teams are smart to take the proper precautions and avoid risk. It is a dangerous and unfortunate situation that is affecting our nation and our world. To all my readers, please stay safe and take all proper precautions.

MLB Considering Suspending Remaining Grapefruit Games Amid COVID-19 Fears

The NBA has suspended their season. So has MLS. March Madness will be played in empty arenas. The PGA has announced that events for the next three weeks will not have galleries of fans lined up at each hole. The COVID-19 virus has caused the major sports bodies to curtail activities to safeguard the public and minimize the spread of the deadly infection.

Major League Baseball and its owners are currently behind in making a decision. They are still playing spring training games in Arizona and Florida but veteran beat writer Jon Heyman has tweeted that may be about to change.

The Grapefruit League is, of course, refers to the Florida-based spring training action. The New York Mets and the New York Yankees are both members as are Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals.

The teams training in Arizona are also expected to be shut down and are expected to remain at their facilities and can always have intrasquad and simulated games. Whether or not the regular season will start on time and if the teams will be able to play in their major league ballparks is still in question.

The New York Rangers Pick Up a Big Point, but the Coronavirus Threatens Season

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers picked up a critical point to keep in the NHL playoff race, but that situation may be the least of everyone’s concern for the near future. The Rangers fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime as the red-hot Mika Zibanejad scored his 41st goal. Pavel Buchnevich also scored while Adam Fox had two assists. Alexandar Georgiev had 25 saves. Buchnevich scored his goal with just 13 seconds left in the game to send the game into overtime.  The Rangers currently sit two points behind the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets, but it might be the coronavirus that derails their season.

The New York Rangers waiting on coronavirus decision from the NHL

On Wednesday night, The NBA suspended their season after Utah Jazz players Rudy Goebert tested positive for coronavirus. While those players involved are being examined, the NBA is suggesting that the rest of the players go into a 14-day self-quarantine.

The NHL responded by saying that they are examining all options and will make a decision soon. After the game, head coach David Quinn was asked about the situation and he responded by saying: “We can’t speculate on the course of action will be taken by the NHL. Logistically, we’ll stay here tonight and make a decision following the NHL update Thursday morning.”

The league was already faced with two teams, the San Jose Sharks and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had planned to play games without fans in their arenas. The Rangers will wait in Denver before waiting for word on the Saturday night game in Arizona. Most believe that the league will follow the NBA and suspend the season.

Another option would be to play games without fans. As necessary as it might be, the biggest impact could be felt by It’s the people who work at the buildings across the league, such as MSG who could lose both the Knicks and Rangers, who will truly do without, if this expected stoppage is extended into the summer.

New York Knicks & NBA season currently suspended due to coronavirus

The New York Knicks ended their season, well for the time being, on a high note.  The NBA will suspended the rest of the season due to the coronavirus or COVID-19.  However, the Knicks defeated the Hawks last night 136-131 in overtime, again.

It all began in Oklahoma City.  The Thunder were set to play the Utah Jazz until the game was cancelled due to health concerns.  Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Emmanuel Mudiay weren’t feeling well before the game and didn’t play due to illness.  It turns out Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.  Mudiay is also might be testing positive for the virus.

Days before Gobert tested positive, he at a conference before a shoot around.  He touched all the mics and table before walking out, making a mockery of the virus.  Not a good look now.  Thunder and Jazz players were quarantined in their locker rooms while everyone was tested and the crowd had to leave.

None of the Knicks weren’t tested for the virus but they could face quarantine to await further instructions.  Since the Knicks were one of the last 5 teams that faced the Jazz, testing should be coming soon.

The Knicks gave the fans an exciting game before the suspension.  The fans in attendance got into the game more after the news broke from ESPN’s Woj.  Well, they were more into the game considering the Knicks had, yet another, giant let down, blowing a 20-point lead.

While the they played great in the first half, did their typical Knicks thing in the second half, they gave the fans a show.  For what it’s worth, knowing that it could be the last game for the foreseeable future meant a little more.  Fans got there regular Mitchell Robinson dunk highlight, along with silky smooth passing from Frank Ntilikina.

Whether it was a win or lose, it was not the biggest issue at hand.  The world’s healthy is.  But for the last few moments on the 4th quarter, fans got New York Knicks basketball and a nice Vince Carter send off.

Mets’ revenue at CitiField falls for third straight season

New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon

The New York Mets are currently up for sale but sagging revenues at CitiField could put a damper on any and all bids. In a report published by Michael Ozanian of Forbes, the Mets’ revenue at the ballpark has dropped for the third consecutive season.

The Mets have been at Citi for 11 seasons averaging $144.6 million per season over that time. The lure of the new ballpark in 2009 brought in the most revenue ($179.3M) but the honeymoon didn’t last. When the team hit the skids in the middle of the decade when the Mets logged in six consecutive losing seasons before winning the NL pennant in 2015.

The club went from CitiField low of $117 million in revenues in 2014 to $151.8 in 2015. They crested at $167.6 million in 2016 when they qualified for the Wild Card Game but have seen revenues drop in each of the next three years: 2017 ($162.8M), 2018 ($151.8M) and $148.9M last year.

The news isn’t all bad, however. Ozanian still sees the Mets – and CitiField – as a solid buying opportunity for investors.

The best news to glean from this 11-year financial snapshot of Citi Field is that ,despite the team’s on-field performance the past three seasons—sub-.500 in 2017 and 2018, an 86-win season in 2019 but no postseason berth—revenue and net income exceeded their averages over the time since Citi Field opened.

 

A potential buyer—one with cash to invest heavily in the Mets—has to figure a World Series-caliber team can generate a heck of a lot more money at Citi Field.

The one factor that can put the brakes on the sale of the Mets – or any club – is the Coronavirus. Right now, the NBA has halted play indefinitely, the NHL may follow and March Madness will replayed without fans in attendance. Several west coast MLB teams are considered moving their regular season games to their Arizona spring straining facilities until the virus subsides, which may not be until summer.

The Mets open March 26 at home against the Washington Nationals. That series is clearly in jeopardy with New York becoming the epicenter of the virus on the East Coast. Revenues are surely to be down, especially early on in the season.

 

 

MLB: Is the Start of the 2020 Season in Jeopardy?

New York Yankees

New York Yankees and Mets fans have waited all winter for the return of baseball. But none of them could have foreseen the rise of the coronavirus. And with the actions being taken by the Italian sporting governing bodies in the face of the outbreak, all American sports are in jeopardy in the immediate future.

The Actions Taken in Italy

Amidst the ongoing global outbreak of the coronavirus, the Italian sporting governing bodies have suspended all, repeat, suspended ALL domestic sporting activity until April 3rd. This includes Serie A soccer. So if you’re a fan of Juventus FC, they aren’t playing until April 3rd.

America Takes Notice

Schools are on or nearing, spring break. Schools are now moving toward telling all their students to stay home, and the remainder of the semester will be taught online. Stamford is limiting public attendance at sporting events on campus, which will dramatically impact the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. A tennis tournament has been outright canceled over the fear of coronavirus. And sporting games are staring down the prospect of playing games without fans in the stands. Can you imagine seeing NBA Final games with NO ONE in the stands?!

What’s MLB Doing?

Right now, as we continue with Spring Training, the media is being barred from the clubhouse. It’s just players and team personnel. Players are also being told not to shake hands with fans, or used markers/pens for autographs handed to them by fans.

Now, MLB isn’t planning to delay the start of the season, unlike in Japan. But, listening to Golic and Wingo this morning, if a significant coronavirus outbreak occurs in a city where a team is played, baseball may move that team to continue playing games at the team’s spring training facility. So, if the Bronx or Queens sees a major coronavirus outbreak, their seasons may be moved to Port St. Lucie and Tampa respectfully.

More news to come as the situations develops.