Major League Baseball joined the NBA, NHL and other professional sports leagues last month by temporarily suspending operations due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It resulted in all remaining Spring Training games being cancelled and an initial two-week delay to the start of the regular season. A lengthier delay was later issued in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending large gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed until May 10.
While there is no timeline on when play will resume, many are looking towards June as a potential target for Opening Day. The Fourth of July is also being floated around as a possibility for the first game of the regular season.
Regardless of what path is ultimately taken, a second Spring Training will likely be necessary for players to get back into game shape.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is confident that group workouts and other baseball activities will be able to resume during May, via ESPN:
“Look, my optimistic outlook is that at some point in May, we’ll be gearing back up. We’ll have to make a determination, depending on what the precise date is, as to how much of a preparation period we need. Whether that preparation period is going to be done in the clubs’ home cities or back in Florida and Arizona. Again, I think the goal would be to get as many regular-season games as possible, and think creatively about how we can accomplish that goal.”
While Manfred has all but ruled out a full 162-game regular season schedule this season, the hope is that the league can make up as many games as possible. An abundance of doubleheaders being scheduled is among the many ideas being considered.
Extending the regular season into October is also a possibility. That would result in the postseason beginning in November, with the World Series being held late in the month.
In this scenario, postseason games would be played on neutral sites in warm weather cities.
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