Update as of 3/12/20 3:10PM EST:
After a meeting between MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and all 30 MLB owners, the league has moved to cancel the remaining Spring Training games. In a corresponding move, the league will also be pushing Opening Day back at least two weeks. They have also suspended the World Baseball Classic qualifier games indefinitely. More on this story as it continues to develop.
The news we’ve all been waiting for. Following the NHL and the NBA’s lead, Major League Baseball is set to be suspending their season indefinitely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Joel Sherman of the New York Post also reports that Spring Training games will come to an end this Friday.
A conference call among Major League Baseball owners is scheduled soon. With the mass cancellations of sporting events around the country, MLB is facing enormous pressure to follow suit. While nothing is official, baseball is expected to have an announcement at some point soon.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 12, 2020
While the outbreaks are attempting to be contained across the country, it’s unclear what the next steps MLB will lay out concerning players and the lost wages of hourly stadium workers. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already stated that he’ll be creating a program for Mavs hourly workers who will be losing out on paychecks for the foreseeable future.
This also follows the Seattle Mariners announcement earlier this week about the possibility of hosting alternatives to games at T-Mobile Park. Washington governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people, throwing a wrench in the already janky and haphazard proceeding of this season. The statement read:
“Following Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement this morning that he is banning large group events through March, the Seattle Mariners are working with the Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner on alternative plans for our games that were scheduled for the end of March at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.”
So what now? Well, like any other global health crisis...we wait and we flatten the curve of the rate of infection. What’s important to understand is just how much bigger than baseball—than sports—this is. Baseball is my life, as it has been for 25, and while not getting to watch it to ceremoniously ring in spring and combat my seasonable depression...it is not worth someone else’s life. We have to keep everyone’s wellbeing, fans, players, stadium workers, into consideration and this is the right move on the league’s behalf.
If you are feeling symptomatic, please call 1-800-456-7707, the Telehealth hotline that has been dedicated to the virus, before potentially exposing other people to COVID-19.