In keeping with the response from other major sports organizations like the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball has suspended the remainder of spring training amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the decision to halt the rest of spring training starting at 4:00 p.m. EST, therefore delaying the beginning of the regular season, was announced on Twitter.
“This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans,” the statement said.
“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season,” the statement continued. “Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days.”
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans,” the MLB said.
The regular season was scheduled to open on March 26, with all 30 teams set to play, according to ESPN. It will be pushed back at least two weeks.
Despite spring training games already underway, sources told ESPN that several teams had already canceled all travel and have been expecting to hear a decision about the remainder of the season.
The MLB’s decision comes shortly after the National Hockey League announced Thursday that they would be pausing the 2019-2020 season.
“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able complete the season and award the Stanley Cup,” a statement from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Just one day earlier, the NBA suspended the remainder of the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminary tested positive for COVID-19. The test was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in a statement shared on Twitter.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement concluded.
The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness — what is now known as COVID-2019, a form of coronavirus — began in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare it a pandemic.
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