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Rays Spring Training cancelled; Season pushed out 2 weeks due to COVID-19

MLB has taken action in light of the spread of COVID-19

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Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
Austin Meadows #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays hands a ball to a fan before a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park on March 11, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

MLB has determined that, as of 4:00 EST today, Spring Training games will cease and the season postponed at least two weeks.

This ruling follows in the footsteps of the NBA, which has suspended the regular season due to a player contracting the novel coronavirus, with MLS and the NHL following suit. Meanwhile, the NCAA has declared March Madness will be played without crowds... for now, anyway.

The two week delay would have baseball return in mid-April, but it should be noted that

A delay is one thing, but a shortened or cancelled regular season may mean something else entirely. This morning, Rosenthal reported that player salaries are about to become an issue

Financial concerns are trivial in the middle of a pandemic, but a potential issue nonetheless. Players in the past were not paid for games lost to work stoppage. But according to a source, the union in this case would take the position that players would merit their full salaries even in a shorter season; baseball is not a sport with a salary cap, and salaries are not linked to revenues.

An ownership representative emphatically disagreed, saying it would be unrealistic to expect teams to maintain full payrolls while operating without revenue. The official invoked the term force majeure, a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from fulfilling an obligation due to an extraordinary circumstance, an act of God.

COVID-19 Links

  • Your first stop for information on COVID-19 should continue to be the CDC
  • The WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, an important acknowledement in the worldwide aspect of this disease
  • The Washington Post has a visual illustration on how diseases spread