As the United States began to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Major League Baseball was thrust into a state of uncertainty.
MLB first moved to restrict clubhouse access to players and essential personnel, but days later all remaining Spring Training games were cancelled and the start of the season was pushed back a minimum of two weeks.
Holding Opening Day on April 9 appeared aggressive, if not unrealistic. More recently, in accordance with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that gatherings of 10 or more people not be held at least through the middle of May, MLB again delayed the start of the season.
As it currently stands, the regular season doesn’t figure to begin until some time in May or June. Although matters appear somewhat bleak, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten explained why there is reason for optimism during Q&A session the team hosted on YouTube:
“You can include me in that group of nobodies who know the answer. We’re on conference calls every day; I just left one with the commissioner an hour ago. I think we all kind of see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the virus and the risks. I don’t know how long that will be, but people in the health community see a path to get there. But I don’t know when that will be. I can tell you that as soon as it is safe, we will play. … I don’t know when that will be, but I have reason to believe we’re going to have a substantial season. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that happens.”
While it does appear MLB will manage to eventually begin its 2020 season, when that point will arrive remains unclear. The longer the delay, the more a second Spring Training will be required — especially for pitchers.
That would further add onto the wait for Opening Day and place more of a strain to play all 162 games. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently said playing a full season remains the hope.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed that sentiment, though also acknowledged there is a point in the calendar where MLB would need to potentially decide on cancelling the season altogether.
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