Start of Japanese baseball season postponed due to coronavirus

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Officials of Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s major leagues, postponed the start of the season this morning due to the spread of the coronavirus. The season was to open on March 20.

NPB officials said they were unsure when the season might start, but commissioner Atsushi Saito said it could be some time in April. He said, however, “I personally believe that we have no choice but to postpone at this stage.”

NPB had been playing its spring training games without fans because of the virus. The Korean Baseball Organization had cancelled many spring training games itself. Yesterday it was reported that Rob Manfred would be having a conference call today with all MLB owners about the outbreak, but that the league expects the season to proceed as planned.