9:32pm: This policy is going into effect immediately, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). No players or staff members will be allowed into spring facilities until they have had a coronavirus test come back negative.
6:09pm: Major League Baseball is “strongly considering” shuttering all thirty of its member teams’ Spring Training facilities, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).
Obviously, that’s startling news to hear when the league is supposed to be readying for Spring Training Part II to get underway. But it certainly seems sensible given the eye-opening reports that emerged today regarding the spread of coronavirus at some facilities.
Per Sherman, the idea would be to close things down, perform a deep clean, and then establish a clear and uniform protocol for accessing these sites. That seems like a wise course of action if a 2020 season is going to be possible at all — regardless of precisely how many games the league and union can agree upon scheduling.
After months of negotiating, there isn’t much wiggle room to work with in squeezing in a campaign. It’s already rather apparent that there will be rolling coronavirus hot spots even over the summer, with real concern that things could get worse in the fall.
The avoidance of major disruptions to the schedule will be as important as it will be difficult. It’s frankly surprising that greater attention wasn’t paid to that effort in the first place.