Initial reports held that MLB players and execs felt the season might get underway again in May, but recent developments have pushed that back even further. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman tweeted Sunday that “anytime before June would be viewed as welcome,” and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has heard more of the same.
Citing information from two anonymous MLB execs, Nightengale wrote that the start of the season could be delayed until at least Memorial Day weekend. For those who aren’t super familiar with which holidays fall where, he’s basically saying June is a more realistic target. That would mean missing two-plus months, which would definitively rule out any hope for a full season. Not that there should have been any in the first place.
MLB released a memo Saturday to tell teams how to proceed with spring camp, advising that non-roster players and most staff be sent home. The memo also promoted social distancing by avoiding any organized or informal group workouts, but required that facilities be kept open and medical services be provided for major league players who remained in the area. Of course, that was before a Yankees minor leaguer tested positive for coronavirus.
All indications are that it’ll be a while before we know more about the trajectory of this outbreak, but the CDC’s latest guidance lends credence to the idea that MLB won’t start up again until early June. Rather than the previous benchmark of 250 people, the latest recommendation is that all gatherings of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks be postponed or cancelled. That’s roughly two months, keeping the door open for a spring training reboot around May 10.
Two weeks of camp would push things right up to Labor Day weekend, though it’s more likely such a lengthy break would require three weeks or more for an appropriate ramp-up. As much as we could all use a healthy dose of optimism right now, it sure feels like it’ll be another two months at minimum before we see any form of live baseball again.
Update: MLB released a statement Monday to say that the league would be following the CDC’s recommendation on limiting public gatherings to under 50 people for the next eight weeks. While they still want to play as many games as possible, it seems almost certain that a resumption by June 1 is optimistic right now.
Statement from Major League Baseball: pic.twitter.com/E5xPfMGOc0
— MLB (@MLB) March 16, 2020