BOSTON (WPRI) — Thursday was set to be Opening Day for Major League Baseball (MLB) but instead the 2020 season is put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful that they will be able to play ball sometime in May but he admits that the chances of a full 162-game schedule are doubtful.
Earlier in March, the MLB canceled the remainder of its spring training games and pushed back the start of the regular season by at least two weeks.
The cancelation came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on March 15 that gatherings of 50 people or more were to be canceled or postponed across the country for a period of eight weeks.
Red Sox fans may take the postponement as good news since it placed the investigation into allegations of sign stealing on hold.
ESPN reports Manfred said he’s “done” investigating the matter but a verdict will be issued before the season begins.
The Red Sox were supposed to be playing their first game Thursday in Toronto against the Blue Jays.
With the MLB postponed, it also means that Minor League Baseball will be as well. Opening Day at McCoy Stadium was scheduled for April 9. The 2020 season is the last season for the Paw-Sox in Rhode Island before moving to Worcester and becoming the Woo Sox.
The team’s new field, Polar Park, is still under construction. Should Gov. Charlie Baker decide to halt construction projects in the Bay State is something that could potentially delay the team’s move.
For now, Baker says construction projects should continue as long as social distancing protocols are followed.
In the meantime, the MLB announced that die-hard fans can still watch baseball on Opening Day. The league will present “Opening Day at Home” — a full slate of 30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day.
The league says the experience is intended to invite fans to “feel a sense of community and unity” on a day many were looking forward to, while stressing the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
There will be one game — a victory — for each MLB club. The league says fans will have the chance to “enjoy postseason triumphs, spectacular individual feats and more, reliving fond memories while doing their part to keep their communities safe.”
The first games will begin at 8:30 a.m.