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MLB delays opening day 8 weeks per CDC coronavirus recommendations

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No large gatherings of 50+ people for 8 weeks pushes back opening day until at least May.

Los Angeles Dodgers Introduce Mookie Betts and David Price Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

So far it’s only been a few days without baseball, and it’s understandable if you’re starting to get stir crazy. But it’s about to get a lot worse. Major League Baseball pushed back its opening day target in accordance with new recommendations from the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC updated its recommended guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday:

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

This isn’t a mandate, though MLB chose to follow it.

“MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement after a conference call with all 30 teams on Monday. “The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.”

It’s not hard to see why all sports are affected. Even a baseball game with no fans and no press would reach the limit of 50 people with just active rosters alone, and it wouldn’t take much to get to 50 in other sports with various team personnel and ancillary figures.

Which means, once the various sports leagues, whether on their own or after states take it upon themselves to impose the restrictions, get on board, they won’t be holding any games (or events, like the NFL Draft, for instance) anytime soon.

Eight weeks from Sunday is May 10, so adjust your expectations accordingly for when baseball might resume. And with such a long layoff, don’t forget to account for the extra time needed for another “spring” training for baseball players to get game ready all over again.

At the very least, we most certainly won’t see any games until mid-May at the earliest.

The wait continues.