Major League Baseball announced Thursday the opening of the 2020 regular season will be delayed by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus, adding the league to the list of sporting events being impacted by the outbreak.
“This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans,” according to a league statement. “MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season.”
The league also canceled all remaining Spring Training games, along with the 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifier games in Arizona.
“MLB and the clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule,” according to the league. “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.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.”
The Dodgers were scheduled to open the season at Dodger Stadium on March 26. The Angels were set to open the season on the road in Houston on the same day. In San Diego, the Padres were set to open their season March 26 at home against the Colorado Rockies.
Meanwhile, Major League Soccer suspended all games for at least 30 days Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
League officials said they would communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season “at the appropriate time.”
Los Angeles has two MLS teams. The Galaxy were scheduled to fly out of Los Angeles on Thursday for a Saturday game with Inter Miami CF in Ft. Lauderdale, but that flight was canceled.
Galaxy officials said tickets will be honored should the matches be played on a postponed date.
Additionally, all events at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson have been postponed, the club announced.
Los Angeles Football Club was scheduled to play Mexico’s Cruz Azul at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in a CONCACAF Champions League game at Banc of California Stadium. That is not an MLS game, but it was also canceled Thursday.
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, the regions’ governing body for soccer, announced the suspension of the tournament.
The club announced that tickets will be honored when the tournament resumes. Tickets for its March 22 match against Portland Timbers (and any other MLS matches affected) will be honored when the game is rescheduled.