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Start of Japanese baseball season postponed due to coronavirus


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.

Phillies COVID testing reports no new positives

Phillies COVID testing
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Phillies COVID testing results revealed no new positives for the fourth straight day, the team announced this morning. As a result, they will resume their schedule tonight against the Yankees.

It’ll be the first game for the Phillies since last Sunday’s game against the Marlins. The Miami outbreak prompted the Phillies’ season to be shut down, but the lack of positive tests beyond team staff that had more direct contact with the visiting Marlins is an encouraging sign. The Phillies COVID testing strongly suggests that cross-team infection from on-the-field activity is not a significant problem. This could bode well for, say, the Brewers, who have been idled a few days due to the outbreak emerging on their would-be opponents this past weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals.

All of this, of course, puts the Phillies well behind their usual schedule. They’ve played just three games and have had minimal baseball activity in the past eight days. Whether that shows up in the performances of Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola, tonight and tomorrow night’s starters, respectively, will be worth watching.

All in all, though, the Phillies COVID testing results are good news. And folks, we could use some good news right now.

UPDATE: The Marlins are negative too: