As the country and sports world confronted the fast spreading of COVID-19, Dodgers officials Wednesday said the organization remained unsure how it will proceed.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the club has had conversations with “different stakeholders” on the matter.
Among the possibilities MLB is considering: delaying the start of the season, relocating games to areas not yet dealing with an outbreak, and playing games in empty stadiums without fans.
The Seattle Mariners on Wednesday announced they were seeking “alternative plans” for their first two series of the season after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state of Washington was banning large gatherings through the end of March.
The Dodgers open their season with six games at Dodger Stadium, beginning March 26 against the San Francisco Giants, before traveling to San Francisco for three games April 3-5. On Tuesday, the mayor of San Francisco announced that the city banned large gatherings indefinitely.
“Things are changing,” Friedman said. “It’s obviously very fluid. And we are trying to do everything we can to make sure our players, our fans, our staff, everyone, is being looked after, we’re being smart about how to handle this. Again, it’s fluid. Things are changing daily.”
The only notable change MLB has implemented to combat COVID-19 is limiting the people allowed to enter clubhouses, including a ban of all media. In hopes of limiting exposure to the virus, Friedman said the team is providing cards for players to hand to fans instead of taking items from fans to autograph.
“This is something that demands our attention because it could affect us and it is affecting people and could potentially affect people that we know,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So it’s taken a lot and I think it’s spurred a lot of conversations. ... We’re in wait-and-see mode so staying educated is a good thing.”
Hours after the NBA announced it was suspending its season, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, a team union representative, said he hoped MLB wouldn’t alter its schedule.
“So just going day-by-day, I think everyone was a little shocked today to hear about the NBA and, obviously, it could affect the other leagues and their decisions and, hopefully, it doesn’t affect our season,” Turner said.
The Dodgers played the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday as planned after rain delayed first pitch by a half hour. Fans filled Camelback Ranch to about half capacity. The Dodgers might have to play in front of none — if they play at all — soon enough.
“I haven’t done that since like A ball,” Roberts said. “It’ll be very eerie, I think. But obviously it’s for the greater good and the health of everyone. But, yeah, that’s on the table, I think.”