MLB postpones the start of the season amid coronavirus outbreak

(NEW YORK) — As more people across the United States test positive for the novel coronavirus, the health emergency is forcing changes to major sporting events.

Major League Baseball announced Monday the 2020 season will be postponed indefinitely over coronavirus concerns.

MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred spoke with the heads of all 30 teams and they agreeded to adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s order that bars gatherings larger than 50 people, the league said in a statement.

“The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” MLB said in a statement.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame also announced that it will cancel all Hall of Fame Classic Weekend events that were scheduled for the end of May in Cooperstown, New York, including the annual legends game.

NASCAR postpones 2 weeks of races

“NASCAR has decided to postpone the race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend,” the racing association announced Friday. “We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport. We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events.”

Boston Marathon postponed until September

The 2020 Boston Marathon, which was initially scheduled for April 20, has been postponed until Sept. 14, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday.

2020 Masters Tournament postponed

Players in the hunt for the coveted green jacket will have to wait a little longer before they can drive up Magnolia Lane and on to the pristine greens of Augusta National this year.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, released a statement Friday that “under these unique circumstances” with the coronavirus outbreak “we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.”

“Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date,” Ridley continued.

Augusta National will continue to work with the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health officials and local authorities.

The golf club’s decisions come on the heels of an announcement from the PGA to cancel all scheduled Tour events through the first weekend of April.

NBA suspended for at least 30 days

Following the announcement Wednesday that the NBA would suspend its season indefinitely, the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, said in a letter Thursday that the “hiatus will last at least 30 days and we intend to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned.”

The league made the announcement after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert was reported to be infected with novel coronavirus. The Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game was suspended midway through the contest, though Gobert never traveled to the arena.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Earlier Wednesday, in San Francisco, the mayor banned all group events over 1,000 people to slow the spread of the virus.

The Golden State Warriors had announced — prior to the league’s suspension — that its Thursday night game in San Francisco against the Brooklyn Nets would be played without fans.

“It’s a shock for sure,” Warriors star Steph Curry said Wednesday.

PGA Tour cancels The Players Championship, events through April

“It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of THE PLAYERS Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events across all of our Tours in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open,” the Tour announced late Thursday.

The decision came hours after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said at a press conference that tour events would proceed as scheduled, but without fans.

The Players Championship was set to begin Friday at TPC Sawgrass and Tour events will be impacted through April 5.

Monahan assured fans Thursday after the initial decision that the PGA Tour is “committed to providing refunds” for patrons who had tickets for this weekend’s tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

In the wake of the new travel advisories that President Trump announced Wednesday, Monahan said the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be postponed due to potential logistical issues for players and staff who travel internationally, which could limit the Tour’s “ability to successfully stage the event.”

The PGA Tour said it has a protocol in place with its volunteer force and local health officials if a player or individual requests to be tested. Tour personnel can “make that happen and make certain there are resources in place for that situation if it were to intensify,” he said.

While he did not reveal any specific protocols or decisions surrounding The Masters, Monahan said that he has “been in frequent discussion with Augusta [National Golf Club] and will leave it to Augusta to share their thinking.”

The Tour has had a team in place “carefully monitoring and assessing the situation and its implications for several weeks,” Monahan said of the coronavirus pandemic, and has weighed all the options in collaboration with Tour partners and members.

NCAA cancels March Madness tournaments

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced that the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and all remaining NCAA winter and spring championships have been canceled.

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said in a statement.

The move came shortly after the Athletic Coast Conference suspended all games, practices and other activities in NCAA championships.

“This is uncharted territory and the health and safety of our student-athletes and institutions remains our top priority. This decision is aimed to protect from the further spread of COVID-19, ” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

MLB delays opening day, suspends spring training

MLB said on Thursday it would suspend spring training games and delay the start of the regular season by two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans,” the league said in a statement.

The league said it is preparing contingency plans for the 2020 schedule and announce updates as they become available.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts,” the league said in a statement.

Additionally, the World Baseball Classic qualifying games in Tucson, Arizona, were postponed.

Arsenal FC coach tests positive

Mikel Arteta, the head coach of Arsenal Football Club in England’s Premier League, has tested positive for coronavirus and personnel who had direct contact with him — including the team members — have gone into self-isolation, the team announced.

The affected Arsenal staff include the full first-team squad, the coaching staff and “a smaller number of people from our Hale End” training center, the team said in a statement.

“This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed,” Arteta said in a statement.

Staff members who didn’t have close contact with the coach will return to work in the next couple of days, and all training facilities will be closed to undergo deep cleaning, according to the team.

Arsenal officials warned that upcoming games may have to be postponed, but they would provide fans with updates as they get them.

NFL cancels annual meeting

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams that he would cancel the league’s annual meeting that was scheduled from March 29 to April 1.

“There will be full consideration and votes on any open football issues, including playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions, as well as other business matters, that were on the agenda for the Annual Meeting, at the Spring meeting scheduled for May 19-20,” the NFL said in a statement.

Rudy Gobert apologizes for mocking outbreak

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert made his first public statement since it was revealed he had contracted the coronavirus in a conciliatory post on Instagram.

Gobert jokingly touched all of the press microphones during a news conference Monday, mocking the outbreak after the NBA put new restrictions on media coverage in locker rooms. The 27-year-old player apologized in the post.

“At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse,” he said.

Gobert said he is in great care and will recover. He advised others to take the outbreak seriously and be cautious.

“I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as [a] way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus,” he said.

Second Utah Jazz player tests positive

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell announced he tested positive for the coronavirus in an Instagram post.

“I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help,” he said.

Mitchell’s teammate, Rudy Gobert, tested positive on Wednesday, which prompted the league to suspend the season.

Mitchell thanked fans for his support and wished everyone to stay safe as the outbreak continues.

NHL suspends season due to shared facilities with multiple NBA facilities

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Thursday.

He went on, “It now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point” and therefore “it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”

“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate,” Bettman said. “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

PGA Tour proceeds without fans through April

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced at a press conference on Thursday that “PGA Tour events across all tours will currently proceed as scheduled, but will do so without fans.”

The policy will go into effect for The Players Championship that begins Friday and will continue through the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which begins March 30 and ends on April 5.

“We feel that this is a safe environment in which to continue to move forward with the tournament with 144 players and limited personnel on site,” Monahan said of the 400-acre venue at TPC Sawgrass. “We’re comfortable that this is the right path forward, but this is something that we’ll continue to monitor as we go forward.”

Monahan assured fans that the PGA Tour is “committed to providing refunds” for patrons who had tickets for this weekend’s tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The PGA Tour said it has a protocol in place with its volunteer force and local health officials if a player or individual requests to be tested. Tour personnel can “make that happen and make certain there are resources in place for that situation if it were to intensify,” he said.

In the wake of the new travel advisories that President Donald Trump announced Wednesday, Monahan said the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be postponed due to potential logistical issues for players and staff who travel internationally, which could limit the Tour’s “ability to successfully stage the event.”

While he did not reveal any specific protocols or decisions surrounding The Masters, Monahan said that he has “been in frequent discussion with Agusta [National Golf Club] and will leave it to Augusta to share their thinking.”

The Tour has had a team in place “carefully monitoring and assessing the situation and its implications for several weeks,” Monahan said of the coronavirus pandemic, and has weighed all the options in collaboration with Tour partners and members.

Major League Soccer suspends season for 30 days

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced on Thursday.

NBA suspends season

The NBA announced it will suspend its season indefinitely following Wednesday’s game.

The announcement came after a player with the Utah Jazz, identified as Rudy Gobert by ESPN’s senior NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, was diagnosed with novel coronavirus. The Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game was suspended midway through the contest, though Gobert never traveled to the arena.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The news came after the league considered playing games in empty arenas.

Earlier Wednesday, in San Francisco, the mayor banned all group events over 1,000 people to slow the spread of the virus.

The Golden State Warriors had announced — prior to the league’s suspension — that its Thursday night game in San Francisco against the Brooklyn Nets would be played without fans.

“It’s a shock for sure,” Warriors star Steph Curry said Wednesday.

“Everything about our routines is reliant upon that kind of game day energy. Pulling up to the arena, seeing fans outside of Chase [Center] walking around in all the Warrior jerseys, even energy in the building, you can feel it all the way through the locker room, through the tunnel,” Curry said. “The only thing is try to have a conversation about how you raise your level of intensity from the jump because you don’t have that actual adrenaline rush of playing in front of 18,000 people like that.”

“I know once the game starts it will be fairly easy to get into that type of flow,” he added.

All other games and events at San Francisco’s Chase Center, the home to the Warriors, through March 21 were canceled or postponed, officials added.

NBA players told to self-quarantine

For now, the Utah Jazz will be under quarantine in Oklahoma City. Thunder players were not tested and sent home, according to ESPN.

Some players who faced off on the court against the Jazz in recent days — including the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers — have been told to self-quarantine, ESPN said.

League sources told ESPN that some players and coaches from those teams scrambled to get tested for the virus as early as Wednesday night after learning of Gobert’s diagnosis.

In addition to the team’s recent opponents, there have been more than a dozen referees who have worked Jazz games over the past week that went on to officiate other league games. By late Wednesday night, players who’d come in contact with the Jazz were seeking tests for the virus, ESPN said.

Ivy League cancels springs athletics

The Ivy League on Wednesday canceled all games and practices through the rest of this academic year.

“In accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals, several Ivy League institutions have announced that students will not return to campus after spring break, and classes will be held virtually during the semester,” the council of presidents said in a statement. “Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue.”

Each school will determine if winter teams and athletes who qualified for postseason play will participate, the council said.

The league also announced it was canceling its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and that the regular season champions had been planned to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Submit a Comment