PHOENIX — League officials have suspended all Spring Training games and delayed the start of the regular 2020 baseball season over continued coronavirus concerns.
"Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by 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," according to a statement from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) (Thursday), forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely."
The Cactus League's Executive Director, Bridget Binsbacher, released the following statement:
“The safety of the public is the No. 1 concern of each of our ballparks. Following MLB’s decision to cancel the remaining spring training schedule in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we will support our facilities in their efforts to ensure the safety of the fans, teams, employees and media. We understand that many fans look forward to Cactus League games and we sympathize with those whose plans were impacted.”
The Cactus League is host to 15 MLB teams at 10 venues across the Valley and is a major economic contributor in our state, bringing in an estimated $644 million annually for Arizona, according to the league's website.
On Thursday, Derrick Hall, the CEO of Arizona Diamondbacks, told Arizona Sports radio that the league has been working with health experts to determine the best course of action. Hall said decisions would be based on the best interest of everyone involved.
Aside from its suspension due to coronavirus, Spring Training got off to a rocky start in the Valley this year, with the first games of the season impacted by weather.