Last week, the commissioner’s office announced that Major League Baseball’s remaining spring training games were cancelled and the regular season would be delayed “at least” two weeks.
“At least” is turning into quite a bit more than that, according to this USA Today article:
There’s a real possibility the Major League Baseball season could be delayed until Memorial Day weekend – or even longer – two MLB executives told USA TODAY Sports.
The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity since they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the discussions.
No one knows when MLB will be able to begin its 2020 season, but certainly, playing a 162-game schedule starting on April 9 is completely unrealistic.
Owners and presidents have a conference call at noon ET Monday to determine the next steps, which is changing by the hour as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world.
I suppose we’ll know more after that conference call, but given the fact that governors of several states — including Illinois — have now closed restaurants and bars (except for takeout and delivery), it seems as if it will be a while before life in the United States of America will return to normal. I presume governors of other states will likely follow with similar bans.
Meanwhile, there was this development from the MLB Players Association:
The MLBPA informed players they should consider living where they feel most comfortable for “at least” the next 4-6 weeks, according to sources. “There’s still a ton of uncertainty and this is evolving in real time each day,” one source said.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) March 15, 2020
That source is right about “uncertainty.” None of us knows what’s going to happen to life next, only that it appears many things will be shut down until around the end of the month. It seems likely that players might stay where they are living for spring training, because they have leases that go through the end of March, and then either go to their offseason homes, or possibly to the city where their team is located.
Thus it will take a while to get baseball players back together once the “all-clear” is given, and more ramp-up will be needed to get them in playing shape to begin any sort of regular season. Theo Epstein hinted “3-4 weeks” a couple of days ago, but it might not take that long, depending on how players stay in shape during this forced hiatus.
Thus it would seem that we might have a 2020 MLB season as short as 100 games, or even fewer, and that might be the best-case scenario.
You know what’s coming next: “As always, we await developments.” Only these days, we don’t seem to have to wait very long for them.