Major League Baseball has delayed the start of the 2020 regular season due to concerns of the coronavirus, leaving us to wait for more Red Sox baseball.
It could be a while before we see the Boston Red Sox take the field again. Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that they have decided to suspend the remaining spring training schedule and the start of the regular season will be delayed by at least two weeks due to the nationwide emergency created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A conference call was held this afternoon with all 30 clubs. It was agreed that MLB would follow the lead of the country’s other major professional sports leagues by suspending games.
The NBA postponed Wednesday night’s game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder moments before tip-off. It was revealed shortly afterwards that Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The final game on last night’s slate was also postponed and the NBA moved swiftly to announce that their season has been suspended indefinitely.
The NHL followed suit by suspending their season. It was only a matter of time before MLB followed their example.
Minor League Baseball also announced a delayed start to the season. Getting some extra reps in Triple-A isn’t even an option for those eligible to be sent to the minors.
Spring training facilities are expected to remain open so that players can continue to prepare for a season that has no clear start date. Nothing compares to live game action but players can still work out to stay in shape, hit in the batting cages or throw bullpen sessions.
It’s unclear if Red Sox players will stay in Fort Myers but it seems MLB is pushing players to stay put to help reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and keep them in close proximity to the team’s medical staff.
The Red Sox originally planned to open the season two weeks from today in Toronto. Now the earliest we can expect them to play their first regular season game of 2020 is April 9 when they are scheduled to visit the Mariners. Considering that Seattle is one of several US cities with an indefinite ban on large crowds, those plans are subject to change regardless of when MLB resumes the schedule.
Unless there are some drastic changes to the schedule, the earliest possible home game at Fenway Park would be April 17 against the Cleveland Indians. That’s hardly set in stone though. The four-game series was set to conclude on Marathon Monday but with the Boston Marathon getting postponed, this series at Fenway should be considered questionable.
MLB is taking the coronavirus pandemic extremely seriously. The health of their players and fans is paramount and they will take any measures necessary to hep prevent the risk of spreading this virus. Contingency plans are being discussed regarding how to reconfigure the schedule but we won’t know for certain until we get clarity on when it’s safe to resume games. Stay tuned and be safe.