Coronavirus: MLB expected to suspend operations, including spring training, reports say

Major League Baseball will suspend spring training and all operations in response to the spread of coronavirus, according multiple reports, including from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The start of the regular season will also likely be delayed, Passan notes. The decision comes after the league’s owners discussed plans on a conference call Thursday afternoon and just days after MLB had been reportedly investigating potential contingency plans, including playing games outside of their scheduled markets and playing them in front of empty stadiums.

MLB has not yet made an official announcement, and spring training games in Florida were being played as scheduled on Thursday afternoon with fans in attendance.

The National Basketball Association was the first of the major American leagues to act, suspending its season on Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus prior to the start of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. MLS followed suit Thursday, shutting down operations for 30 days.

Earlier this week, the Seattle Mariners released the following statement after Washington governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people. 

Following Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement this morning that he is banning large group events through March, the Seattle Mariners are working with the Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner on alternative plans for our games that were scheduled for the end of March at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

Other cities have followed suit in an effort to “flatten the curve,” or to make the rate of infection more manageable for the healthcare system and professionals. 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses as minor as a cold, or as serious as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the World Health Organization. The virus can cause symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while some patients only show mild symptoms and recover, others have developed life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia, CBS News reports. 

CBS News has the latest updates about the virus, which has affected various sports globally and in the United States and has at present caused more than 4,000 fatalities worldwide. Here at CBS Sports we have a running updates on how sports leagues are responding to coronavirus. 

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