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.