The status of a potential coronavirus outbreak is raising questions about a pair of Major League Baseball games slated for London in June, as teams brace for possible scheduling and travel changes.
Following last year’s pair of regular-season matchups between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at London Stadium (pictured above), MLB is slated to return this season with a two-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. That series, scheduled for June 13-14, is still on for now, but the risks surrounding coronavirus are raising questions about whether MLB and the two teams will not move forward with the London appearance.
For the time being, MLB has not made any scheduling changes or imposed travel restrictions because of coronavirus, and continues to consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations. It also has not delved into hypotheticals, including the possibility of cancelling the London series, but all indications are that teams are preparing for the possibility of changes to scheduling and travel. More from the Chicago Sun-Times:
MLB, which is in contact with the NBA and other sports leagues, as well as health organizations such as the CDC, has yet to establish coronavirus-related policy or travel restrictions. But indications are the Cubs-Cardinals series in London in June is a subject of internal discussion as MLB plots a course of action ahead of the regular season, which starts in three weeks.
“I feel like with everything right now, this entire situation is fluid,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Things are changing not week to week but day to day. I think that right now, there’s probably some acceptance that we’re on standby for changes, be it schedule or travel or whatnot.”
Hoyer wouldn’t specifically address the scheduled series in London on June 13 and 14. (The Cubs also have a rare road trip to Toronto scheduled in August.
And neither Hoyer nor other baseball officials would address hypothetical situations should the COVID-19 virus spread beyond the known clusters and cases, such as nine reported deaths in Washington State and at least two diagnoses in Maricopa County, where the Cubs, White Sox and 13 other teams train.
Globally, coronavirus is having implications on professional sports leagues overseas, with pro seasons postponed and matches played in empty stadiums. With it being an active concern for MLB and other leagues with teams in the U.S. and Canada, the possibility of changes is something that teams will have to be prepared for for the time being.
Image, posted to Twitter on June 22, 2019, courtesy MLB.
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