On March 12, the Orioles had literally to turn around while already on the bus to go to Fort Myers for a spring training game, and go back to the Ed Smith Stadium complex. That was the moment Major League Baseball announced the season would be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Orioles were planning to stay in Sarasota, but in a matter of hours that changed too and they were to be sent home. Minor league players fared no better, and this is something that could disrupt indiana sports betting online too, since the Hoosiers have no Major League teams. But the situation is serious, as State Health Commissioner Kris Box told the press in Indianapolis on Friday: there are probably tens of thousands of people infected with Covid-19 in Indiana, even though limited available tests have only confirmed 12 such cases.
On the same day, Friday 13, the declaration of the state of emergency in Baltimore County followed suit. No wonder then that the Orioles too suggested to the MLB to cancel the whole season to be safe. “We just think that given the risk there is really no reason why we should have to go out there and play 162 games this year—we just care about people’s safety is all,” pitcher Alex Cobb told the press. “Why play against the Yankees and the Red Sox game after game with this horrible infectious disease out there. It might seem safe to just take a month off, but it could come roaring back in the middle of July when we are already 40 games under .500, not that that matters at all. We’re just thinking about the fans and their health, nothing else.”
Just a day before, Orioles executive vice president and general manager, Mike Elias, had told a conference call in Sarasota that they were “very intent on keeping everyone here until told otherwise.” The plan in that moment was to operate on a day-to-day basis, do a full cleaning of the major league and minor league complexes on Friday, and then have players returning to camp. That was the team’s preference. But it all changed in a matter of hours, as MLB decided that all major and minor league players could go home, if they wished.
On Sunday MLB issued guidelines on the situation, after Commissioner Rob Manfred, Players Association executive director Tony Clark and key aides met in Arizona on Friday and Saturday. There was no mention of completely cancelling the season yet, but it is clear by now that the delay will probably last until May, or longer. Clubs have been told to cease any organized informal workouts, further closing down camp activity. MLB has made it clear that they want to comply with governmental requests for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the meanwhile, the Yankees confirmed that a minor-league player tested positive for Covid-19 and was quarantined Friday morning after experiencing a fever.