2020 Reds

MLB suspending spring training, start of regular season

The sad but inevitable reality has arrived. This afternoon — as games are still in progress — Major League Baseball announced that Cactus and Grapefruit League play will be suspended immediately and the regular season will not begin as scheduled on March 26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The start of the regular season will be delayed by at least two weeks, according to MLB’s press release. That would make April 9 the earliest possible Opening Day.

The World Baseball Classic qualifiers are also postponed.

Players are expected stay at spring training facilities to continue working out, but they aren’t required to do so, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Yesterday, the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade was officially canceled in what was a sign of things to come. Steve Mancuso wrote just two days ago about the possibility of the Reds playing with no fans on Opening Day, but even that has proved to be too risky after the virus continued to spread in recent days. Before MLB’s announcement, Ohio governor Mike DeWine also announced a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

MLB’s hiatus is just the latest unprecedented domino to fall in the sports world. On Wednesday evening, the NBA suspended all operations after it was learned that two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. The NHL and MLS followed suit by suspending operations earlier Thursday. All NCAA conference tournaments were also cancelled, with the Big Dance — slated to start next week — in serious doubt.

UPDATE (3/13/2020):

Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, players are now being sent home and will not stay at the spring training facilities to work out.

UPDATE (3/16/2020):

Nightengale is now reporting that, predictably, MLB does not expect the season to begin on April 9 but is still hoping to play a full 162-game season, which seems like a long shot.

Some GMs, however, aren’t expecting play to resume until at least July.

MLB has also stopped all scouting activity, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

We’ll update this article as necessary as more information becomes available.

[Photo: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1107831225039888384/photo/1]

Matt got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
R Smith
R Smith
1 year ago

Today was a sad day for amateur athletes. Seasons and careers ended. Much bigger issues to address and rightly so. The pros will play again and get paid. But a lot of careers ended today for college baseball players. Tough time for everyone and much bigger than sports.