Yankees React To Opening Day Delay, Spring Training Cancellation

Giancarlo Stanton Calls Recent Development 'Unfortunate'

Alec Gearty
March 12, 2020 - 3:42 pm

The Yankees — and the rest of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues — reached an abrupt halt to their spring training. 

New York won't finish the final week and a half of its exhibition slate as MLB suspended operations, which includes spring training, due to coronavirus concerns. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced opening day would have at least a two-week delay as the Yankees faced the Nationals on Thursday afternoon.

Like the MLB, various leagues have stopped proceeding in its respective schedules. The NBA and MLS suspended its schedules for a 30-day minimum. The NHL paused its season with the intent to resume at a later date.

The precautionary concern hit the NCAA over the past 24 hours with the cancellation of conference tournaments. 

"It’s unfortunate but I think it’s the proper measure we need to take now given the situation the country’s in and the world’s in," said Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, via Newsday's Erik Boland. "It’s important to know that some things are bigger than baseball, bigger than sports."

According to WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman, players won't immediately leave spring training sites. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who will have to wait a bit longer to make his regular-season debut, shared a similar view to Stanton. 

“It’s difficult I think for everybody," Cole told the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert. "Everybody’s concerned about it. There’s a lot of uncertainty, uncomfortability for loved ones, especially the elderly. It’s one of those things that comes around every so often where we have to come together as a country and kind of rally against it. So regardless of baseball I think everybody’s kind of feeling the same way.”

Two players in the NBA have already tested positive for coronavirus, prompting an immediate shut down and a whirlwind 24 hours in the sports world. 

“It makes it that much more real," pitcher JA Happ said, via the New York Post's Ken Davidoff. "To see a whole league be postponed for the time being, we just haven’t seen it."

The Yankees were initially set to face Baltimore on March 26. Nearly five months have passed since the Yankees were eliminated in last year's postseason and a handful of players were anticipating a return to the field with few disturbances. 

"I'm not overly emotional about it," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "This is a unique situation that's bigger than baseball. You want to be doing your part on behalf of the world. We'll be cooperative and try to play our part the best we can."