At first, the MLB planned its Opening Day for March 26; a week from today. Due to COVID-19, that date continues to change. As the sports world aches for normality, baseball holds out hope for a return to the field.
MLB Opening Day pushed back again
Initially, a two-week delay set the opening day date at April 9. Since then, that date moved even further into the future. In accordance with updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Opening Day will not occur for at least eight weeks. This extended delay in the season came in a press release by the MLB on March 16.
Statement from Major League Baseball: pic.twitter.com/E5xPfMGOc0
— MLB (@MLB) March 16, 2020
Mid-May is the earliest possible time frame for Opening Day, but the league refuses to issue a timetable for its return. Despite the delay, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred voiced that the goal is to play as many games as possible.
Next steps for players
There are additional decisions to be made by players after having their seasons pushed back by the coronavirus outbreak. One such issue to arise is where to go. Currently, players have the option to stay at the Spring Training facility if open, return home or head to their team’s home city.
A new predicament becomes evident with this choice. Whenever it is safe for the season to begin, players are likely to show some rust. Some sort of extended Spring Training is required to get players back in shape.
This puts the timetable for opening day further into question. At this point, a summer start to the season looks to be the most likely scenario. However, the length of baseball’s hiatus depends on when it is deemed safe to return to action.
MLB provides relief for workers
Without a return date set, stadium workers are out of work until the season begins. MLB teams have donated $1 million apiece to ease the uncertainty of their ballpark employees. Manfred commended clubs for their actions.
MLB clubs have committed $30M — $1M apiece — to assist the ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to our season. pic.twitter.com/ZzJOkxGt2e
— MLB (@MLB) March 17, 2020