Due to the pandemic of COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus), MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred is canceling the remaining games in Spring Training and the start of the regular season by two weeks.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced in a press release just minutes ago that the remainder of games for spring training will be canceled and the start of the regular season will be postponed for at least two weeks. This comes on the heels of an announcement late last night by California governor Gavin Newsom that would have likely prohibited the Colorado Rockies from opening their season in San Diego in the first place.
Most of the Cactus League’s slate of games, including the Colorado Rockies game with the Milwaukee Brewers, were already canceled on for Thursday due to heavy rain in the Phoenix, Arizona area. However, most of the Grapefruit League’s games in Florida today are happening as some games are currently being played right now.
Here is part of the press release.
"“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.“MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. 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.”"
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In other words, they will reevaluate whether the season can be played in its entirety (with moving the schedule back) or if the season needs to be truncated to a smaller schedule at a later date.
Two instances of part of a season being delayed at the beginning of a season after World War II are 1972 and 1995. Both involved labor strikes by the players and both seasons ended up having to be truncated. In 1972, all teams played around 155 games but the number of matchups and the number of games were not even.
In 1995, the 1994-95 MLBPA strike wiped out the last seven weeks or so of the 1994 season, plus the postseason, and most of 1995’s spring training. They returned only after agreeing to return to the previous collective bargaining agreement and table a new collective bargaining agreement, an agreement that wouldn’t come for years. They nearly employed replacement players to play games. That season was shortened from 162 games to 144 games.
Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry and Duane DaPron are both in Scottsdale in the Colorado Rockies clubhouse so they will be talking with some members of the Rockies on their reaction to the news so stay tuned as we will update this article, the site, and Twitter as we receive more information.
Manager Bud Black spoke to the media late Thursday afternoon inside the Rockies complex.
“We’re conditioned for, at times, drastic change. We’ll adjust physically and mentally for whenever the season starts,” Black said. “There will be a little halt obviously in some throwing programs and pitcher pitch counts. Position player-wise, fine. I think if you look at the big picture of position players, physically and mentally, they’ll be fine once we get a hard target of when (Opening Day) is going to happen.”