MLB suspends Spring Training and delays start of season

Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

In response to coronavirus, Major League Baseball will shutdown operations to keep fans and players away from stadiums.

Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that they will suspend Spring Training and delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks. Spring Training games are cancelled as of 4:00 PM (EST) on Thursday. As part of their announcement, MLB said World Baseball Classic Qualifier games will be postponed as well. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to clubs in the coming days.

The MLB’s plan to halt operations was first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

MLB officials met with team owners in a conference call on Thursday morning when the decision was made. Shortly after news broke of MLB suspending operations, the NHL announced they will also pause the 2019-20 season.

Today’s news seemed inevitable after the swift decision by the NBA to suspend their season on Wednesday upon learning one of their players (now two) tested positive for the virus.

Last night Governor Gavin Newsom announced that gatherings of more than 250 people in the state of California should be postponed or rescheduled until at least the end of March. As of Thursday morning, there have been 201 reported cases of coronavirus in California. With the virus rapidly spreading, public health officials continue to to try to stem the outbreak.

The Angels issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying, “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our fans, players, and employees. MLB and the Angels will continue to take the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts.”

For fans who purchased Angels tickets for the beginning of the season, they can contact their individual sales representative or call (714)-4ANGELS for more information.

MLB Scouts have been instructed to return home, avoid flying, and cancel future trips. Angels scouting director Matt Swanson told the Los Angeles Times that even though scouts aren’t flying, they can still get a lot of work done regionally. I would imagine most activities will be suspended as professional and amateur leagues, alike, halt operations.

MLB will reportedly ask players to remain at their Spring Training sites where they have access to team medical personnel; however, players will reportedly be allowed to return home as they please.

Minor League Baseball will also delay the start of their season.

Next. Projecting the 2020 Opening Day Roster, Part 1

This is a breaking story. Please check back as more information becomes available. 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.