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MLB delays start of regular season, suspends spring training due to coronavirus

The delay will be for at minimum two weeks.

2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

After a conference call with commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners of all 30 teams, Major League Baseball has decided to suspend spring training games effective at 4 p.m. today. Additionally, the start of the regular season will be delayed by at least two weeks, though how that will affect the schedule has yet to be determined. If the two week delay stands as is, the season would start on or around April 9. The delay and suspension are due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is the latest in the string of widespread cancellations/postponements of various sporting events, concerts, conventions, and other public gatherings.

Here is the official statement from Major League Baseball:

Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.

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. As of 4:00 p.m. ET today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.

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.

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

This follows New York State’s announcement that gatherings of 500 or more people are not permitted in the state, effective 5pm today.

The Mets had 13 more games scheduled during spring training, including an exhibition against the Baltimore Orioles at the US Naval Academy to close preseason play.

As for the regular season, the Mets’ are scheduled to open 2020 play at home against the Washington Nationals.