As sports leagues all around the U.S. and the world began to cancel and postpone events this week, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before MLB took necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the growing coronavirus concerns. On Thursday MLB announced that effective Thursday, March 12 at 4pm it would be suspending all spring training events indefinitely.
Additionally, the start of the baseball season has been pushed back by at least two weeks.
Baseball has recently come under scrutiny for continuing their regularly scheduled spring training games in spite of growing concerns about transmission among large groups. Several players have voiced limited concerns over the virus, but after Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive, the NBA postponed the remainder of their regular season until an undetermined later date.
Most teams had already banned autograph signing and asked fans to avoid contact with players, and media have been required to interview players at a distance of at least six feet. Teams are able to continue training at their own facilities at this time, though it is uncertain if they will.
These new precautions will certainly be a blow to fan enthusiasm, as many seek outside entertainment to distract them from the growing pandemic concerns, but MLB is taking the approach that it is better to be safe than sorry, which is the right thing to do.