Major League Baseball has cancelled spring training for the upcoming season due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the news on Thursday; the MLB’s regular season, which was set to start on March 26, will be delayed by at least two weeks as well. “This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and wellbeing or our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans,” the statement added. They will “continue to evaluate ongoing events” going forward and “have been preparing a variety of contingency plans” for the regular season.
MLB joins fellow sports leagues the NBA and the NHL in shutting down operations in light of the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1,300 cases reported in the United States at press time. The NBA suspended its season on Wednesday night after All-Star player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and the NHL followed suit on Thursday. The NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament is still scheduled to begin next week, although the games will be played without fans.
The coronavirus outbreak continues to affect TV shows and events as well: Survivor and The Amazing Race have delayed production on upcoming seasons; shows like The Tonight Show and Jeopardy! have begun filming without a live audience; and Riverdale has temporarily halted production after a crew member came in contact with a person who tested positive for the virus.