UPDATED with extended delay: Major League Baseball’s delay of opening day could last another two months after commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday the league will follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s coronavirus guidance issued Sunday to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
MLB had already announced a two-week delay to the regular-season start on Thursday, when it also canceled the remainder of spring training. This new timeline will push the season openers into May at the earliest; originally, the first games were scheduled for March 26.
“The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” MLB said in its statement Monday after a meeting with all 30 teams.
PREVIOUSLY, March 12 PM: Major League Baseball is postponing the start of the regular season by at least two weeks and canceled spring training games as of 4 PM ET today in response to the emergency situated created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. made the decision after a call with the league’s 30 clubs and a consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association. MLB said it will continue to evaluate ongoing events and effects on 2020 scheduling.
“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.”
Spring Training games have also been canceled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, AZ have been postponed indefinitely.
MLB and the clubs have been preparing contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. It said it 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.”
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