Opening day for Major League Baseball was scheduled for March 26th. For the last few weeks, that date has sounded implausible. Originally, the MLB pushed back the start of the season, but today, the delay has been extended. According to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, the delay could last two months.
On Thursday, the MLB announced a two week delay and canceled the rest of spring training. Right now, the dream is to play ball at the start of May, but with the NHL and NBA suspended seemingly indefinitely, that sounds unrealistic.
All clubs were informed by the MLB’s decision ahead of time. Each and every player and staffer on all 30 teams had forewarning. Reps from Major League Baseball said they’ll continue to monitor the situation and evaluate accordingly. In a statement, commissioner Rob Manfred stressed the importance of the well-being of the players, employees, and fans:
“This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans. MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. 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.”
What if They Play Less Games?
There’s no word yet on how MLB or parks will compensate employees with the season delayed or (quite possibly) in complete danger of not returning at all this summer. The MLB can’t exactly play the outdoor sport in wintertime, unless maybe they cut the season to pieces. Given how long MLB seasons are and how many games are played, lesser games this year wouldn’t be a surprising result given everything happening in the world. Of course, the MLB hasn’t suggested the idea of shortening seasons, but it’s an option.
What Else is Going On in the World of Sports?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Right now, sports are a thing of the past. March Madness was the first major sporting event to go. Initially, the NCAA was planning on playing the games without crowds in attendance. Quickly, that idea was squashed.
Then players in the NBA started testing positive for the coronavirus and the league hit pause on the season. The NHL soon followed the NBA’s lead, although the NHL likes to think players will be back on the ice in the coming weeks. Initially, the NHL planned only a two-week delay. With the President now saying to avoid crowds of more than 10 people, hockey along with every other sport will have to wait.
Right now, the only major televised sport that’s going to continue ahead is WrestleMania. WrestleMania36 is banning fans from attending the Orlando show, but the show will go on and wrestling fans can tune into the action. Wrestling is almost the exact opposite of “social distancing,” though, so the decision is a bit shocking.
Will the event put wrestlers and performers at risk of catching the virus? Perhaps the proper precautions are happening, but still, it sounds like a terrible idea. In a statement, WrestleMania said the show will go on:
“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place. However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.”
The No Crowds Idea
Watching sports and late night comedies without audiences is a surreal experience. Crowds are integral to them. Did anyone else see how nightmarish Jimmy Fallon’s last taping was last week? The mood and atmosphere was draining and just sad, although Fallon did what he could under the circumstances.
What will wrestlers look like bragging and chanting to nobody in a stadium? Well, we’ll find out on Sunday, April 5th, when the next WrestleMania is live-streamed. At least wrestling fans get to keep their sport of choice for the time being.