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MLB delays opening day by at least 2 weeks amid coronavirus pandemic

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Remainder of spring training canceled beginning Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. Earliest opening day would be April 9

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The inevitable became a reality on Thursday, with Major League Baseball suspending operations for the foreseeable future over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. The rest of spring training is canceled as of Thursday afternoon, and the start of the regular season is suspended by at least two weeks.

“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,” MLB said in a statement. “MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding 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.”

As of now there is no official restart date, but delaying the season two weeks means the earliest date for opening day is April 9. It’s still unknown whether MLB will make up any missed games, or if they would play a reduced schedule.

The last 24 hours have been an avalanche of sports reacting to what is now officially a pandemic. NBA suspended its season on Wednesday, and NHL did the same on Thursday. The NCAA tournament first announced games will be played with no fans then canceled the whole thing (and the College World Series, too), and several conference basketball tournaments were canceled. MLS suspended its season for 30 days, and the PGA Tour will hold events without fans through the end of the week.

Late Wednesday night, California public health officials suggested limiting all gatherings in the state to no more than 250 people through at least the end of March, which would have affected the Dodgers whether or not MLB decided to act as a league.

Both Dodgers split-squad games on Thursday were already canceled by rain, two of six Cactus League games canceled by rain. But this decision by MLB canceled the one remaining game on the schedule, on what is the final day of baseball for a while.

The Dodgers issued this statement:

“Players are of course disappointed they won’t be able to compete on the field. At the same time, they recognize the importance of public health and safety,” MLBPA head Tony Clark said in a statement.

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