SARASOTA, Fla. -- Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it has suspended Spring Training and delayed the start of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the Orioles and 29 other clubs in a holding pattern until it is determined what comes next.
“The Orioles organization is fully supportive of Major League Baseball’s decision to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks,” the Orioles said in a statement. “The health and safety of our players, fans, staff, and partners will always be our top priority. We will communicate additional details, including information about refunds, as this is a rapidly-evolving situation. We encourage everyone to continue to follow the important guidelines established by the CDC and other public health organizations.”
Here is everything you need to know about this unprecedented development in MLB:
When will the season start?
There is no official start date for the season at this time. Opening Day had been scheduled for Thursday, March 26.
MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to all 30 clubs in the coming days.
How will the schedule change to accommodate the late start?
According to the release sent by MLB, the league and teams have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular-season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
What’s going to happen with the rest of Spring Training?
Forthcoming Spring Training games were canceled as of 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, and 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifying games scheduled in Tucson, Ariz., were postponed indefinitely.
What about Minor League Baseball?
Minor League Baseball announced Thursday that the start of its regular season, originally scheduled for April 9, will be delayed indefinitely.
What games could the Orioles potentially miss?
The Orioles’ original regular-season schedule began with a six-game homestand against the Red Sox and Yankees, followed by a seven-game road trip through St. Louis and New York. It is important to note these games are not cancelled at this point, and it remains possible they could be made up at a later date if the season is able to open on April 9. The Orioles are scheduled to open a three-game series against the Pirates on April 9 at Camden Yards.
I have tickets to the home opener, what does this mean for me?
MLB will announce the effects on the league-wide 2020 regular-season schedule at a future date. All ticket holders for impacted games will be notified of our ticket policies once the 2020 schedule is finalized.
What about tickets to other games?
Fans who purchased tickets directly through the Baltimore Orioles will automatically be refunded for all canceled 2020 Spring Training games. Season Plan Members will be automatically refunded for game tickets and parking purchased for remaining games at Ed Smith Stadium. Full refund policy:
- Fans who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster, Orioles.com, StubHub, or at the Ed Smith Stadium box office will automatically receive a refund to the credit card that was originally used for purchase.
- Group Tickets will be refunded to the group leader who purchased them.
- Fans who purchased tickets through a third-party ticket vendor (other than StubHub) should contact that vendor regarding their specific polices for a cancelled event.
- Fans who purchased tickets with cash should send the original game tickets for a refund via certified mail to:
Spring Training Ticket Refunds
Ed Smith Stadium
2700 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
Furthermore, the scheduled exhibition game between the Orioles and Mets on March 24, at the U.S. Naval Academy has been canceled. Birdland Members who purchased tickets will automatically receive a refund.
How might this affect the Orioles once play resumes?
The delay gives the Orioles more time to assess the status of Trey Mancini, who underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor in his colon Thursday. The Orioles said Mancini’s lab results and a subsequent timeline would be available next week.
It also provides the bandwidth for rehabbing outfielder DJ Stewart, who was tentatively scheduled to return to game action this weekend, to recover fully from right ankle surgery. Stewart’s status for Opening Day had been in doubt.
What was Thursday like at Orioles camp?
The Orioles prepared to travel to their regularly scheduled night game against the Twins in Fort Myers, leaving their facility on two team buses and in personal cars early Thursday afternoon. But the buses soon turned back, returning almost immediately to the facility while the team awaited word from MLB. Players, coaches and team officials remained in a holding pattern until MLB suspended Spring Training shortly after 3 p.m. ET.
“I cant even think of anything to compare it to,” Chris Davis said. “Just a very odd situation.”
Earlier in the morning, it was business as usual for several players not scheduled to travel with the team later in the day. Alex Cobb (blister), Tommy Milone (left trap) and DJ Stewart (rehab from right ankle surgery) were some of the players who took part in a simulated game on one Ed Smith back field. Renato Núñez, Chance Sisco, Richie Martin and Ryan Mountcastle also participated. Later, pitchers who were supposed to pitch in Fort Myers asked to throw back at the facility, but were told to wait for official word.
What are they saying?
Davis: “I’m pretty shocked, by how quickly things have escalated. All the announcements coming out in the last few hours … it’s a lot to take in. There are so many questions I have, and a bunch of guys have approached me with questions I don’t have answers to. Hopefully in the next few days we can get some more clarity, but at this point it doesn’t feel real.”
Added Davis: “It doesn’t ever take away from the initial shock, but I understand what their thought process is. There are a lot of things that we can’t control, but the things we can, we have to do our best to protect ourselves, our families and everybody involved. I completely understand where they are coming from.”