Players react to coronavirus, delay of Opening Day

March 13th, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic that is sending shock waves throughout the world has touched virtually every aspect of our lives, including an area that has traditionally been reserved for trying to get our minds off of troubling world events -- sports. When MLB officially canceled the remainder of Spring Training and announced there will be a delay of at least two weeks to the opening of the regular season, the baseball community reacted with expressions of concern for the health of people around the world, as well as perspective on what's most important -- the safety of all during this time.

Here are some reactions to the recent developments from those in and around the game, including players and managers.

Aaron Boone, Yankees manager: “This is a unique situation that's bigger than baseball. You want to be doing your part on behalf of the world. We'll be cooperative and try to play our part the best we can.”

Brendan McKay, Rays: “For me, I’ve gone up to Tampa and my girlfriend works in a hospital. So, like, do I know if she’s come in contact with somebody? Or she may not even know. It’s a little scary. It’s tough these days where you come in contact with so many people. It’s a really tough situation to deal with.”

Francisco Lindor, Indians: “This is when society gets together and helps each other out. Out of this, we can get something positive and that will be all being in a much better spot when it comes to taking care of each other. Because, at times, we’re not at peace with each other. I think now, we’ve got a really good chance of helping each other out, being there for each other and being good Samaritans, helping others and looking out for each other.”

Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners (through interpreter Kevin Ando): “The most important thing right now is just the safety and health of everyone all across the whole world, not just here. To be honest, this has been in my head pretty much all the time the past several weeks. The team and organization are talking about how to prevent the sickness, and when you turn on the TV, it’s usually something about the coronavirus, especially in the sports world with all these games and seasons shutting down. So it’s been on my mind a lot.”

David Dahl, Rockies (had spleen removed after 2015 injury): “Me, without a spleen, it’s a little tougher. But I have all of my immunizations, as far as the flu shot and all of that. I’ve got what I need, so I’m trying not to worry about it too much.”

Rhys Hoskins, Phillies: “Look, this is something that I think we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. It’s something that’s kind of stopping the world as we know it. … We’re kind of in unchartered territory. I think health and safety have to come first and foremost. We’ve kind of seen that around the rest of the sports industry and throughout really every other sector throughout the world, too.”

Jake Arrieta, Phillies: “Take baseball, basketball, football and hockey out of it, and the health of everybody in the community and the organization is first and foremost. We’ll get back to baseball when it’s appropriate.”

Max Scherzer, Nationals: “We’re getting pretty good information that we’re not just treating this like the flu. I think all the players, we understand that now, completely, we understand the severity of what we’re dealing with here. And we understand why such preventative measures have to be taken for the public health and to keep that in mind, to try to keep this from really being a doomsday scenario.

“It was harder with the short offseason trying to plan for how we were going to handle everything in spring, you know, with a short offseason, what we wanted to be able to do and accomplish. Now with the extra two weeks, it kind of gives everybody an extra blow before pressing into work, and it could be a nice little needed rest before we actually start the season.”

Chris Archer, Pirates: “Whatever they deem is safest for everybody -- not just the baseball players, but everyone else that’s involved. There’s a lot of other people involved in this sport and this event and the entertainment than just the players. We’re a small piece of it, so whatever we can do to preserve the safety and health for everybody. We know that [the coronavirus] doesn’t affect younger people as much, but we all have parents. We all have people who are our elders that we come in contact with every day. The last thing we want to do is be a carrier and cause something fatal.”

Eric Hosmer, Padres: “Feels like we're in a movie right now, it's insane. As of a couple days ago, I think you started to kind of expect some of these things to happen. Major League Baseball was doing a great job of really being proactive on this stuff. Just obviously hoping everybody's safe."