MLB delays Opening Day at least 2 weeks due to coronavirus

Major League Baseball is expected to suspend baseball operations, according to multiple reports.

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Players and fans stand during the National Anthem before the Opening Day home game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Major League Baseball is delaying the start of the 2020 season by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus pandamic, the league said in an announcement Thursday.

“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 league said in a statement.

“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season.Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days.As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training gameshave been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.

“MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plansregarding the 2020 regular season schedule.MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans.MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts.We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.”

The White Sox have a scheduled off day Thursday, and their spring training complex is closed. There was no immediate comment from the team, but they are expected to have a normal day Friday.

The Cubs and Dodgers’ scheduled game in Mesa Thursday was rained out.

“At some point somebody [in baseball] will get coronavirus, I think,” Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish said Wednesday. “And if somebody would get it then MLB will so the same thing as NBA.”

MLB is not waiting for that happen. The NBA, NHL and MLS already suspended their professional sports leagues due to the coronavirus crises.

Contributing: Doug Padilla

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