MLB Delays Opening Day at Least 2 Weeks
After deciding to suspend all spring training games due to the spread of COVID-19, Major League Baseball also announced that Opening Day this season would be delayed at least two weeks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league’s owners held a conference call on Thursday following the cancelation of Cactus and Grapefruit League play. The conference call was set up to formalize a plan.
"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," MLB said in its statement.
The MLB season was scheduled to open on March 26, with all 30 teams playing that day. Manfred hadn’t decided whether or not each team would still play 162 games and Opening Day being delayed two weeks was fluid.
This will be the first time Major League Baseball postponed the start of its season since 1995, which was the year the league shortened its season from 162 games to 144 following a 7 1/2-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series. That year, Opening Day was pushed back nearly a full month, from April 2 to April 26.
At least one owner voiced skepticism that the league would actually start on April 9:
"We're ultimately all people," Seattle Mariners owner John Stanton said. "We all love the game of baseball, but this is a far bigger issue for all of us right now, and we're trying to work our way through it together. I believe that this is going to be something that will have a lot more twists and turns to it."