Major League Baseball has put a halt on spring activity in wake of the coronavirus. Players will either return home, remain at their spring training facility, or return to their club’s hometown. This means either Denver, Scottsdale or a personal home for members of the Colorado Rockies.
There are no answers, aside from our longing of an answer that baseball can suit up again without interference. Colorado would have played Kansas City today in Surprise, Arizona, under high-60’s sunshine.
Stark: It was just a normal spring — until it wasn’t | The Athletic (standard paywall removed)
“Just 12 days ago, I sat down to lunch, at a ballpark in Florida, with a scout friend. It was the first day of Grapefruit League life for both of us. He told me his wife worked at a hospital that was already gearing up for the coronavirus crisis. He said she’d given him this warning:
“In two weeks, all hell is going to break loose.”
Two weeks has gone by. All hell has broke loose.
Jayson Stark’s article for the Athletic reads like fiction, as does virtually every news headline the public sees in wake of the coronavirus. He writes such an eerie twist on how standard the MLB operations were earlier this week, operations that seemed so normal in the moment but so reminiscent in hindsight. The eerie presence of rain all week around the Cactus League ballparks made everything extra ominous; sunshine finally breaks through in the Phoenix valley today, but baseball’s imminent future remains as cloudy as ever.
Peter Lambert has been ruled out indefinitely. CBS Sports deems it “a situation that could lead to Tommy John surgery.” He entered spring training in the conversation for the fifth starting rotation spot, along with Jeff Hoffman and Chi Chi Gonzalez. Lambert is about to turn 23.
Any player currently facing injury gets a little extra time to recover. It’s pretty insensitive to see it this way, but it could potentially make guys like Aaron Judge available for Opening Day. If Tommy John surgery is required for Lambert, however, his availability even for Opening Day of next season could be in question, too.
The delayed season leaves guys like 23-year-old Jose Mujica chomping at the bit to return to competition; Mujica is returning from Tommy John surgery himself, and the upcoming season will be his first full year post-operation.
Our longing for sports to come back comes with speculation for how it actually will return. Adjustments to the regular season of pro baseball, basketball and hockey will be necessary, and Deadspin writer Jesse Spector forecasts potential adjustments. He proposes a radical solution.
1995 was the last time MLB had a shortened season; they played 144 games with an “abbreviated spring training” that played out into April. 2020 might bear a striking resemblance.
It’s so sad to foresee 2020 being added to this list.
A shortened season will have an impact on everybody, and even MLB’s seasoned veterans haven't seen a shortened season. A collection of veteran Rockies relievers face uncertainty just like everybody else, but their aspirations to return to peak form in 2020 now face additional obstacles unlike anything in their tenure.
Opening Day will be delayed at least two weeks. Given the necessity of pitchers gearing up their arms for the season, it’s reasonable to think an abbreviated spring training format like 1995 will be necessary. This would give us additional opportunity to preview all pitchers on the Rockies staff this year, and we can hope the stoppage of play comes with minimal interference to veteran relievers and newcomers alike.