LA Angels: California bans large gatherings, Freeway exhibition series in limbo

Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The state of California becomes the latest state to announce a ban on large public gatherings.

As public health officials work around the clock in response to the novel coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that gatherings of more than 250 people in the state of California should be postponed or rescheduled until at least the end of March.

The Los Angeles Angels are scheduled to return to the state to play an exhibition series with the Los Angeles Dodgers from March 22-24. The first game was set to be played at Angel Stadium with the final two games in Chavez Ravine. There is no word yet on how these games will be impacted by the Governor’s announcement, but obviously, all three games will likely be cancelled, played at an alternate site, or played in front of an empty stadium. The home openers of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres are also called into question.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has officially been classified as a global pandemic, is forcing decision-makers across all walks of life to pause and exercise caution in planning for public events while considering the interest of public health.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced March Madness will be played without fans in attendance. Later that night, the NBA made a swift decision to suspend their season until further notice after a player tested positive for the virus moments before tip-off in Oklahoma City. The NHL expects to have an update on Thursday on how to proceed with their season.

Major League Baseball has remained hopeful they can continue playing Spring Training games and start the regular season on time, perhaps with games being played at alternate sites. Opening Day is currently set for March 26. However, as circumstances rapidly change, high-level MLB executives are expected to meet this week to discuss the best direction forward. Multiple teams have started pulling scouts off the road and are canceling future travel, according to ESPN.

In light of local restrictions, some teams have already made contingency plans. The San Francisco Giants are staying in Arizona instead of playing exhibitions in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Oakland. The Seattle Mariners, who the Angels are scheduled to play in Seattle beginning on April 28, are locating an alternate site to begin their season.

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Please check back as more information becomes available relevant to the Angels. In the meantime, our thoughts are with those impacted by this virus. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.