Minor League Baseball announced today that it will delay the start of its season in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The announcement puts the start of the TinCaps' season, scheduled for April 9 at Bowling Green, in jeopardy. MiLB's decision came shortly after Major League Baseball decided to suspend spring training activities and announced that it would push the start of the regular season back by at least two weeks.
"In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, and after consultation with medical professionals and our partners at Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball will delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season," MiLB wrote in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 season at a later date.
"We will work with Major League Baseball and our community partners to resume play as soon as it is safe to do so. The health and safety of Minor League Baseball fans, players and executives is our top priority, and our thoughts are with those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak."
TinCaps president Mike Nutter said that in the event of schedule changes, the team will do everything it can to minimize the impact for season-ticket holders and for those fans who have bought tickets for early-season games.
"The message is, and this is not a sales line, is that all those fans will be taken care of," Nutter said. "What does that mean? We don't know. Are we still going to end up with a 70-game (home) season? Are we going to end up with something short of that? We just don't know. So we're hoping to get more direction and then hit (fan outreach) right away.
"It might sound like a line, but if it ends up being refunds, if it ends up being credit toward another game this year, we just need to figure out how many we're going to play and what the impact is."
Nutter emphasized that there is little information available right now beyond what MiLB said in its statement. As so many other sports organizations have noted today, the situation remains fluid.
"Somebody called me right away (after the announcement) and said, 'When do you think your first game is, what's the over-under?' and there might be legal sports betting in Indiana, but I'm not touching that one," Nutter said. "We just don't know."
"I was in a meeting today with the Board of Health ... and there was so much focus and emphasis put on the way that we win, the way that we minimize this, the way that we have the most success is to attack early, to go on the offensive so to speak," the team president added.