It’s now official: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will not take place as scheduled. When they’ll occur remains to be seen, but the announcement indicates the hope is to stage the games no later than next summer.
That’s a matter of direct interest to the many ballplayers who had been slated to participate. It’s also the latest in a string of dramatic blows to the sporting world delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s still no real sense of when and how Major League Baseball will ramp up for the 2020 season. But even with the cancellation of the Olympics, there is some relatively hopeful news from across the Pacific. MLB’s peers in Asia are now getting in the swing of things, albeit haltingly.
In Korea, it’s possible that exhibition contests will begin within two weeks, Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap reports on Twitter. The Korea Baseball Organization won’t begin until some point after April 20th, but the gears are now turning toward a resumption of play.
That effort hasn’t been without its interruptions. The Doosan Bears just became the latest KBO club to pause team training work due to a concern with internal spread of the virus. Yoo tweets that he has now counted seven such interruptions as the league tries to achieve the difficult balance of proceeding with their season while also protecting personnel and respecting the broader public health needs.
Over in Japan, the league is eyeing an Opening Day no sooner than April 24th, per a Nikkan Sports report (Japanese language link; h/t Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, via Twitter). But that’s still a hypothetical goal. The Olympic postponement will bear on the plans in Japan, as there’s now additional scheduling flexibility to work with.
Those professional leagues will still face huge challenges as they proceed. But these efforts suggest there’s still a near-term path for professional sports in countries that gain some measure of control over the spread of the virus.