The Miami Marlins, after weighing their options over the weekend, have opted to shut down their Spring Training facility at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.
MLB.com first reported Sunday that CEO Derek Jeter informed players and staff about the decision. Jeter also advised players against taking part in group workouts outside the complex.
This follows suit with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Sunday recommended that events consisting of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.
The league on Monday, following a conference call with commissioner Robert Manfred and all 30 teams, announced it will push back the start of the 2020 regular season in accordance with this guideline, meaning mid-May is the earliest the season would begin.
“We miss baseball, and we love the community it’s gifted us,” The Marlins tweeted from their main account Sunday night. “The game will be back. Let’s take care of each other.”
MLB initially suspended spring training games on Thursday. The leagued also postponed the start of the regular season by at least two weeks at that time (although the start date for the season will now be much later than that). One day later, the league officially ended spring training operations and gave players the option to either return home, remain in Spring Training locations (Jupiter, in the Marlins’ case) or return to their club’s home city.
“This is an unprecedented time and this is certainly an unprecedented decision that was made in the best interest of the players, fans and communities across the country,” Jeter said in a statement Thursday when the league initially suspended spring training activities. “We urge everyone to continue to exercise the preventive measures set forth by the CDC and stay informed regarding the latest developments on this virus.”
According to a memo sent from MLB to all 30 teams on Sunday that was posted to Twitter by The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, the league recommended that teams “should avoid all activities in which players congregate in significant numbers or are otherwise unable to practice the ‘social distancing’ protocols recommended by the CDC.”
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“The risk of a player in a Club facility contracting the virus is real,” the memo stated, “and we must implement protocols to protect the safety and well-being of our players and staff members. In addition, we must recognize that there is the potential for further federal and state restrictions that will impact our operations including restrictions on travel.”
A pair of Marlins players took to social media over the weekend regarding the team’s situation.
“On pause,” Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas tweeted Saturday night. “But is time to be responsible and take care of each other to overcome this moment. Looking forward to see all the @Marlins fans really soon. We will be ready to put on a good show.”
“On Hold. Be Back Soon,” first baseman/right fielder Garrett Cooper posted Sunday afternoon.