Don’t look now, but there’s a complicating factor to the 2020 baseball season: the status of a potential coronavirus outbreak and how the government responds.
MLB, the NBA and the NHL all have discussed the issue with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal government bodies in both the United States and Canada. But we’re still early in the game, and as more and more states report new cases and deaths, you can expect fans to avoid crowds and potential contraction issues. Overseas, we’ve see pro seasons postponed and matches played in empty stadiums. “The health and safety of our employees, teams, players and fans is paramount,” the NBA said in a press statement. “We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely.” From AP:
The NHL, which has seven teams based in Canada, is in contact with personnel from the CDC and Public Health Canada. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said by email the NHL has not considered any cancellations.
“We are in regular communication with our clubs on the issue and have passed along best practices being recommended by CDC and Public Health Canada medical experts,” Daly said. “Most of these steps are common sense precautions, but there definitely involves consciousness raising.”
An NHL spokesman added the league “will implement all necessary safety measures as required.” Teams have been getting information from the league about COVID-19 since late January.
MLB has also been actively monitoring the outbreak for some time and been in touch with the CDC and Health and Human Services. It is providing guidance to clubs, staff members and players that are mirror CDC recommendations.
We’ve not heard of any substantive communications to MiLB teams, but you can expect some will come down the pike: With the most number of teams and the highest number of athletes involved in American sports, COVID-19 will surely be a concern in 2020.