The Giants and A’s were set for a two-game, home-and-home series to round out their spring exhibition slate in a couple of weeks, but those plans are now on hold.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a citywide ban Wednesday on large gatherings of more than 1,000 people, effective for two weeks, due to the spread of coronavirus in the city. That timeframe includes the Giants’ home exhibition game scheduled for Oracle Park.
The Giants acknowledged the ban in a statement released shortly after the city’s announcement, saying they are working with the A’s to determine alternative options:
“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us. We have been in close coordination with Major League Baseball and our local health and government agencies to monitor and plan for any potential impacts of COVID-19. In light of the City and County San Francisco’s announcement today to prohibit public gatherings of 1,000 people for the next two weeks, we will not play our upcoming March 24th exhibition game against the Oakland A’s at Oracle Park in San Francisco. We have no other large public gatherings scheduled at Oracle Park during this time period. We are in the process of working with Major League Baseball and the A’s to finalize alternative arrangements. We will make that information available as soon as possible.”
A source told the Bay Area News Group the Giants and A’s will likely stay in Arizona and play their exhibition games originally planned for the Bay Area at their respective spring training stadiums.
The Giants have not made an announcement regarding their planned exhibition for Sunday, March 22 in Sacramento against the Triple-A River Cats, but that game is likely to be moved to Arizona, too.
Instead of returning to San Francisco before their Opening Day matchup against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on March 26, the Giants are now considering remaining in Arizona until Wednesday, March 24 before traveling to Southern California.
Considering there are still 15 days until the Giants’ first game, it’s possible even more drastic measures could be in place by Opening Day as MLB may explore the idea of postponing the start of the regular season.
The situation remains fluid, but the Giants have already postponed their annual “Play Ball Lunch” benefitting the Junior Giants Foundation while players have adjusted the way they sign autographs and interact with media.
All 30 MLB teams have adjusted their daily routines and taken new precautionary measures due to the spread of the new coronavirus. Giants players remain uncertain how their upcoming schedule will be impacted, but believe the league has their best interests and the best interests of the fans in mind.
“For me, you have to trust the higher powers that are making these decisions that are more informed than all of us are,” catcher Buster Posey said. “You just roll with it. You do what you do for the time being and hopefully put your trust in people that are making good decisions for the whole.”
With the Golden State Warriors set to play Thursday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets in front of an empty Chase Center, Giants players have also considered the possibility of starting the season without fans being admitted into ballparks.
“It would be really weird, of course,” Posey said.
Posey said he believes MLB would prioritize having teams play in alternative locations where fans would be permitted to enter instead of playing in empty ballparks.
“This is my speculation, I don’t see us personally playing in an empty stadium,” Posey said. “We would play those games somewhere else where they would deem it safe for fans to go to games. I just don’t know what it would look like.”
The Giants home opener is scheduled for Friday, April 3 against the Dodgers on a date that falls after Mayor Breed’s citywide ban of large gatherings ends. However, the City of San Francisco can extend the ban, which would force the Giants to consider alternative locations for their early-season home games.
Published at Wed, 11 Mar 2020 18:14:56 +0000