New York Post - 13.03.2020

(Ben Green) #1
New York Post, Friday, March 13, 2020

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS: A familiar scene played out across spring training Thursday in Florida and Ari-
zona, as fans learned Major League Baseball was canceling the rest of the exhibition season and delaying
Opening Day “at least” two weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images (2); AP

By Dan Martin

League Baseball, like much of the
rest of the sports world, screeched
to a halt Thursday because of coro-
The league canceled the rest of
spring training and is delaying the
start of the regular season by “at
least” two weeks following a con-
ference call with commissioner
Rob Manfred and all 30 team own-
“This action is being taken in the
interests of the safety and well-be-
ing of our players, Clubs and our
millions of loyal fans,’’ Manfred
said in a statement. “MLB will con-
tinue to evaluate ongoing events
leading up to the start of the sea-
Teams are expected to continue
to have workouts at their spring
training sites in Florida and Ari-
zona, but a source indicated players
would not be mandated to attend.
The league also said it hopes to re-
sume “normal operations as soon
as possible.”
Tony Clark, the head of the Play-
ers Association, said: “Players are
of course disappointed they won’t
be able to compete on the field. At
the same time, they recognize the
importance of public health and
Giancarlo Stanton agreed with
the move.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s
the proper measure we need to take

now, given the situation the coun-
try is in and the world is in,’’ Stan-
ton said at Yankees camp in Tampa.
“It’s important to know that some
things are bigger than baseball
[and] bigger than sports at the mo-
ment. Once we’re able to hopefully
get a hold on some things and get
some questions answered, we can
figure out when things can con-
The situation changed rapidly
following the suspension of the
NBA season on Wednesday night,
as well as additional steps taken by
local governments around the
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis re-
quested that cities and counties in
the state postpone or cancel events
that would attract large crowds and
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared
a public health emergency.
The NHL also stopped its season
The MLB regular season had
been scheduled to start March 26
with all 30 teams playing.
There had been thought that
teams might play spring training
games without crowds or have reg-
ular-season games at spring train-
ing or other neutral sites.
Instead, the league shut every-
thing down, resulting in the first
MLB-wide postponement of sea-
son-openers since 1995.

That shutdown was the result of
the 1994 players’ strike that short-
ened the following season to 144
games after Opening Day was
moved from April 2 to April 26.
Around the majors Thursday
there were odd sights, like the Yan-
kees and Nationals finishing their
game in West Palm Beach, Fla.,
after the decision to suspend spring
training was made.
The Cardinals and Marlins also
played in Jupiter, Fla., after learning
spring training might be suspended
following the game.
“It felt like the most meaningless
game in the history of the sport,’’
St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter
told reporters.
Orioles players boarded a bus in
Sarasota, Fla., on their way to a
night game versus the Twins in Fort
Myers and then turned around and
came back when it became clear
the game would likely not be
Though there’s no way of know-
ing when the season will start up,
longtime umpire Angel Hernandez
told reporters after the Yankees-
Nats game, “See you in June.”
Cubs president Theo Epstein said
the team would close its spring
training facility Friday.
Said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter:
“This is an unprecedented time and
this is certainly an unprecedented
decision that was made in the best
interest of players, fans and com-
munities across the country.”
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