Odds on Date of First 2020 MLB Game: “After April 15” Is a Heavy Favorite
- The Coronavirus pandemic has delayed the start of the 2020 MLB season, which was scheduled for March 26
- Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the start of the season will be pushed back by “at least two weeks'”
- Will the 2020 MLB season kick off before or after April 15?
The MLB, among other sports, is treading into the unknown thanks to COVID-19.
On Thursday, while other leagues suspended their seasons and playoffs, baseball announced that it was delaying the start of its regular season by at least two weeks. But with so much unknown about the virus and how long this lock-down might last, it’s hard to know if the two week delay will be enough.
The latest MLB futures set the over/under on Opening Day at April 15.
Odds on Date of First MLB Regular-Season Game of 2020
|After April 15, 2020||-210|
|On or Before April 15, 2020||+155|
Odds taken March 13.
Despite that, Vegas doesn’t see much of a chance for the MLB kicking things off before the ides of April.
Official: MLB suspending spring-training games and delaying start of regular season by at least two weeks.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 12, 2020
Two weeks from March 26 brings us to April 9. Now that doesn’t take into account an extension to Spring Training to allow players to re-acclimate, but in a perfect world,that’s how baseball would start before April 15.
TSN’s Steve Phillips illustrated how that scenario would play out:
This all led to the two-week delay, which means that the target day for the season to begin is now Thursday, April 9. One of the things to keep in mind is that if April 9 is the actual day teams return to the field, clubs will have to be willing and able to have players back in spring training not much later than March 26.
That may be a pipe dream, however.
Could MLS’ 30-Day Window Be a Clue to MLB?
In the NBA, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have tested positive for coronavirus. In the NHL, it’s been limited to a Sharks staffer.
But without any known cases, MLS instituted a 30-day pause. This is notable because they don’t share facilities with either league. Just cities.
The city of San Francisco announced a ban Wednesday on gatherings of over 1,000 people, which includes home games of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, for at least two weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak…
The NBA is holding an important conference call today on its plans.
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) March 11, 2020
So could MLB follow suit? It’s probably likely.
The quarantine time for COVID-19 is 14 days. It can also take up to a week for someone to show symptoms. So that’s a 21-day window. Even if no players are diagnosed in the next seven days, extending the delay by an extra week would provide the league with an optimal quarantine period.
• The city is “in conversation with” sports teams — including the Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls and Fire — over crowds at games, Lightfoot said.
Opening Day for the White Sox is March 26 and Opening Day for the Cubs is March 30. Both are expected to see major turnout.
— Block Club Chicago (@BlockClubCHI) March 11, 2020
In that scenario, teams would return to facilities on April 2. Two weeks after that? April 16.
Expect Later Start for MLB Season
Along with needing it to be the best-case scenario to return to action by April 15, it would also be a bold move by baseball.
That would likely mean they’re forgoing the NHL, NBA and MLS as the lone sport taking the field.
And that doesn’t even include the fact some of these teams play in markets heavily affected by the virus.
Latest COVID-19 coronavirus map by @Newsweek @StatistaCharts & @JohnsHopkins. ~127,000 confirmed cases, 4,700+ dead, about half recovered. China passes peak,
& sends aid to crisis-stricken Italy, Iran asks world for help, US puts 30-day travel ban on Europe as infections top 1300 pic.twitter.com/TBPI5zkLF9
— ?om ?'ℂonnor (@ShaolinTom) March 12, 2020
At this point, a two week break simply doesn’t seem like enough time to re-calibrate and ensure the safety of both fans and players.
Expect the MLB season to start at some point. Just not soon.
Pick: After April 15 (-210)