Major League Baseball to delay Opening Day by at least 2 weeks; spring training suspended
LAKELAND, Fla. — As expected, Major League Baseball hit the "pause" button on 2020.
Commissioner Rod Manfred announced on Thursday that the start of 2020 regular season, originally slated for March 26, has been pushed back at least two weeks because of the concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Baseball has also suspended spring training games after Thursday. The announcement came while the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves were playing an exhibition game in Lakeland, Florida. Though the games scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Eastern were canceled, and the World Baseball Classic qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona, have been postponed indefinitely.
The decision is no surprise, given the NBA's and NHL's decisions to suspend their regular seasons.
The MLB said it will remain flexible as events warrant. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 14 at Dodger Stadium and the World Series is supposed to begin on Oct. 20 with a possible Game 7 slated for Oct. 28.
MLB certainly felt significant pressure afterwards, given that their ongoing games are exhibitions. The novel coronavirus was classified as a pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organization; across the country, governments and groups are canceling large gatherings, to eliminate any chance of transmitting the virus.
About an hour after the MLB announced its delay, Minor League Baseball announced it would delay the start of their seasons.