Report: MLB to close clubhouses to reporters, plans to start season on time

By Matt Johnson
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

As the NBA and NHL implement rules to restrict access to locker rooms in the wake of the coronavirus, MLB reportedly plans to follow suit in an effort to ensure player safety.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB will close clubhouses to all media over fears of risking a potential spread of the coronavirus. It also determined in a conference call with owners on Monday that it will tentatively move forward with the plan to continue spring training and hold Opening Day on its original schedule.

MLB’s decision comes hours after Nippon Professional Baseball announced it is postponing its Opening Day from March 20 until mid-April. The 2020 MLB season is set to begin on March 26 under the league’s current plan, barring a sudden decision to postpone it.

League and team officials will continue monitoring local markets and listening to local health officials to determine a course of action in each city, per Passan. The league has reportedly considered an option, in the event where action must be taken, to have teams play their games at locations outside of their metropolitan area.

As the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, continues to spread globally, all professional sports leagues seem to be preparing for all possible scenarios.