The 2020 Phillies season will not start on time, as Major League Baseball has announced it has suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After Thursday, the next time the Philadelphia Phillies will play a game on a baseball diamond, regardless whether for spring training or the regular season, is now unknown.
In response to action already taken by the NBA and NCAA, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that is has suspended Spring Training games and delayed the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the worldwide emergency created by COVID-19.
The announcement comes after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred consulted with club owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association, following what ESPN’s Jeff Passan calls “enormous pressure” to follow suit of other mass cancellations of sporting events in the U.S.
In MLB’s press release, their action taken on Thursday is done in the best interests of the “safety and well-being” of players, clubs, and fans; it adds:
"MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. ET today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely. …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."
Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw David Price, a 2018 World Series champion, five-time All-Star, and 2012 Cy Young Award winner, told Passan on Thursday that “It’s gotta happen” to suspend play. “This is so much bigger than sports,” he says. “I’ve got two kids.” That feeling is shared by many, many in the game.”
According to MLB, the league and its teams have been preparing several contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB says it will announce schedule changes “at an appropriate time” and will “remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.”
The Phillies were among several teams prior to Thursday’s announcement that decide to send their scouts home. After Thursday, they had just 12 more Grapefruit League games scheduled ahead of Opening Day, which was slated for March 26, away against the Miami Marlins.
Now, who knows just when the 2020 season will begin.