The earliest the Major League Baseball season will start is the middle of May.
The commissioner's office announced Monday that the league will follow the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to postpone any gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
This after the league announced last week a delay of "at least two weeks" to the start of the 2020 campaign amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Statement from Major League Baseball: pic.twitter.com/E5xPfMGOc0— MLB (@MLB) March 16, 2020
The official best-case scenario now puts Opening Day at some point in the middle of May, though even that seems to be a rosy outlook at the moment, with USA Today's Bob Nightengale reporting Monday that several general managers are "bracing" for the start of the season to be pushed all the way to July.
The announcement said that MLB's teams are committed to playing as many games as possible. That notably does not mean 162. Even with necessary rearranging of the schedule, it's appearing increasingly possible that this season could be baseball's shortest since 1903, briefer than the 107-game slate played in 1981.
While not specified in Monday's announcement, it is likely that there will need to be a second spring training, a ramp-up period that allows players to get into shape for the season that could last weeks. So even once it's deemed OK for baseball to happen again, there will need to be an even longer wait for regular-season baseball while players prepare their bodies for however long a season is to follow.
But right now, there is too much uncertainty to even guess at when Opening Day will come. We only know it won't be for quite a while.