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MLB suspends Opening Day due to coronavirus pandemic

The two-week suspension will allow the league time to evaluate the future of the season.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it is suspending operations for two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement by the league, commissioner Rob Manfred said clubs will “continue to evaluate” the ongoing pandemic and issue future updates on when the season may begin. This action is taking place immediately, and will effect Opening Day, spring training, and the 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifier games.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans,” the statement read. MLB also sent wishes to individuals and communities affected by the virus.

Opening Day was scheduled for March 26, but the spread of the virus has forced MLB and other sports leagues to suspend or cancel their seasons to protect fans, players and personnel. Several states including California and Ohio already have rules in place banning the assembly of more than 1,000 people at an event, with other states expected to follow suit.

The NBA announced Wednesday night it would be suspending the 2019-20 season, prompting the NHL to do the same. This left MLB as the last major professional sporting league with a schedule potentially impacted by the virus in the coming weeks.

Caution towards the virus in the sports world escalated Wednesday when it was announced a player on the Utah Jazz, later revealed to be Rudy Gobert, tested positive for coronavirus. He was later joined by teammate Donovan Mitchell, who also tested positive. Spread inside the locker room escalated the threat, which the NHL used as the catalyst for canceling the season itself.

We will update this story as more news comes available.