MLB Opening Day 2020 Pushed Back at Least 8 Weeks amid Coronavirus Concerns

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has further postponed its season because of coronavirus concerns.

On Monday, the league and Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement saying the season would not begin April 9. Instead, MLB will be following the CDC's recommendations from Sunday, which advised people should avoid gatherings of 50 or more for at least eight weeks. 

Manfred further elaborated on the decision, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I think the biggest topic is obviously with the CDC announcement we’re not going to be playing April 9," he said. "We’re not going to announce an alternate opening day at this point. Were going to have to see how things develop. I think the commitment of the clubs is to play as many baseball games in 2020 as we can, consistent with the safety of our players and our fans."

Per Goold, some players have been discussing the potential of not playing again until Memorial Day. 

Then there's the matter of contracts. Joel Sherman of the New York Post offered an update on the negotiations between MLB's owners and the players:

"MLB's first offer included a lump payment to all major leaguers to help especially those most in need due to missed games and lost paychecks. Because it had to negotiate this with a union, MLB was dealing with major leaguers first before addressing if and how to pay minor leaguers and club employees/gameday workers who are financially impacted by this shutdown."

Sherman added that the players' union had sent a counterproposal to that initial offer and was expecting to hear back as early as Monday. 

Other arrangements have been made, such as keeping spring training sites open to players who want to work out individually, though team workouts are not permitted and players have been requested to not work out in large groups.

"We did agree with the MLBPA that spring training sites would remain open—but the thought there is with a skeleton crew," Manfred told Goold. "Really, to give players some place to use a gym as opposed to being forced out into a public gym and the like. We're really encouraging players to make a decision where they want to be over an extended period of time and get to that location as soon as possible."