Major League Baseball Opening Day was scheduled for Thursday, March 27th, but it has been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. MLB and the Players Association reached a deal on how things will operate when the game returns, but a timeline for return is something they can’t control.
ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan provided an update on what will be necessary for the league to return. Baseball can return when there are no travel restrictions, medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans, and there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans — although, the last one comes with an asterisk.
The players and owners agreed that to consider playing games at neutral sites and “will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums and just how proper a solution it may be for both sides and especially fans,” per Passan.
The empty stadium asterisk offers a modicum of hope for a shortened season this year, but given the developments in testing and numbers across the country, it’s difficult to see a season happening in 2020. Hopefully the virus is contained sooner than later, and this will be something to track over the coming months.