Yesterday when Major League Baseball announced that they would delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks, it already felt like that was unlikely. Players were asked to remain around the spring training facility despite spring training being suspended. Even as early as this morning, teams were working with the idea that players would remain around the facilities and have work done in the cages, weight rooms, and bullpen mounds – but no on-field activities while things were shut down. Some players reportedly weren’t keen on that idea, preferring to go back to their families.
This morning Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and President of the MLB Players Association Tony Clark got together to work out what all of this meant for the players. As things progressed later in the day it was agreed upon that players could choose to remain in the area and use the spring training facilities, travel to the home city of their team, or travel to their home. This was first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network and confirmed by several other sources.
If players are leaving spring training sites, there’s almost no way possible that games are going to be played on April 9th. In theory, players could still remain on schedule, with the coaching and medical staff overseeing workouts at the facilities, to make that date work. But with everyone sort of going out and doing their own thing, and then coming back to resume spring training at a later date in order to ramp up to regular season games – the timeline just doesn’t work.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports is reporting that teams are basically taking this as an indication that the season won’t start at the earliest point of “a two week delay”.
That MLB/MLBPA directive — for players to leave — was given about an hour ago. Club sources are taking this as clear indication season will not start on April 9.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) March 13, 2020
Kyle Boddy will remain in Goodyear
Some players will seemingly remain in Goodyear to use the facility to train. Kyle Boddy, the Cincinnati Reds Director of Pitching Initiatives and Pitching Coordinator will remain in Goodyear as well as a part of what he called a “skeleton crew” that will be at the facility to help work with the players.
What will the players do?
At this point in time, there’s been no word on what decisions any of the Cincinnati Reds players will be doing. But we do know what two teams players will be doing. The New York Yankees players voted unanimously to remain in Tampa and continue working out, as first reported by George A. King III of the New York Post. The St. Louis Cardinals have decided to shut things down (Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reports this one) and head home.