MLB Official Says COVID-19 ‘Much Bigger Threat’ to 2020 Season Than Labor Battle

LM Otero/Associated PressAs much of the attention around Major League Baseball has revolved around tensions between the owners and players, at least one person in the sport believes the coronavirus pandemic will have a much greater impact on whether there will be a season in 2020. One senior MLB official told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn that COVID-19 is…

MLB Official Says COVID-19 ‘Much Bigger Threat’ to 2020 Season Than Labor Battle

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred pauses while speaking to the media at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

LM Otero/Associated Press

As much of the attention around Major League Baseball has revolved around tensions between the owners and players, at least one person in the sport believes the coronavirus pandemic will have a much greater impact on whether there will be a season in 2020. 

One senior MLB official told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn that COVID-19 is a “much bigger threat” to the season than the ongoing labor dispute. 

Quinn noted that the league is “carrying on with the plan to have teams in their home ballparks, but recognize it could all fall apart quickly.”

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Friday they were closing their spring training facilities in Dunedin, Florida, “for the time being” after a player was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 

The Philadelphia Phillies closed their facilities in Clearwater, Florida, after confirming eight members of the organization, including five players, tested positive for COVID-19. 

Per a report from USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale and confirmed by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, MLB was closing all spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona “for deep cleaning and will not permit players or staff members until they pass a COVID-19 test.”

There remains no agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, but ESPN’s Marly Rivera noted the players will vote on Saturday for the 60-game “jointly developed framework” that also includes fully prorated pay and an expanded postseason. 

If that deal is approved, the regular season would be scheduled to start on July 19.