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Japanese leagues to play spring training games in empty ballparks over coronavirus fears

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Nippon Professional Baseball — the Japanese major league — announced on Wednesday that it will hold all of its remaining spring training games in empty ballparks due to fears that fans might spread the coronavirus. The following day the Korean Baseball Organization went even further, cancelling the remainder of the KBO League’s spring training games in their entirety over coronavirus fears.

NPB’s regular season opens on March 20. The league is in wait-and-see mode regarding whether the regular season will be similarly impacted. The KBO League regular season is set to begin on March 28. The KBO will hold an emergency meeting of its executive committee next Tuesday to discuss potential changes to the regular season schedule. Yesterday Japan closed schools across the country due to the outbreak. It’s Rugby Union league recently cancelled over a dozen matches.

The 2020 regular season of both leagues was already scheduled to be halted during the summer for Olympics, which takes place in Tokyo. Yesterday, by the way, the organizers of the Olympic games pushed back on what they called mere “speculation” that the coronavirus epidemic could lead to their cancellation.

So yeah, things are going sideways out there right now. Please keep your head. And please wash your hands.

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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