Major League Baseball, like many sports leagues around the world, has been shut down indefinitely because of the growing threat that is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spring Training has been suspended and Opening Day will be pushed back at least two weeks, though that remains subject to change.
On Friday,: staying at their team's spring training facility, return to their offseason homes, or return to their team's home city. Agent Scott Boras believes players are best served remaining at their team's spring training facility because that's where they'll get the best care.
"We have an environment in spring camps that are somewhat of a clinical trial," Boras said. "Players are evaluated daily and have immediate treatment access. This process over the month is proven effective versus the outside world as there are no reported cases [of coronavirus among major leaguers]. … The key to low probability of the virus is to be in isolated areas. But the key in treatment is early detection and treatment. And players are getting daily health care, they are getting daily diagnostics. They are in one of the best isolation situations when it comes to managing this outbreak."
"There is an option to stay and there is an advantage to stay," Boras said. "You stay in your playing routine. You avoid travel. And you are in a place that has shown it is managing the virus. This is not complete isolation, but this is limited isolation that has shown it is working. It has proved effective. … The secondary benefit is a performance advantage. They are going to continue working out and be more ready when ultimately the bell [for the delayed] regular season begins."
Boras represents over 60 major leaguers, many of them big name stars, as well as many minor leaguers. He told Sherman he is "not advising anyone to do any particular thing," and is simply keeping his clients informed so they can make the best decision. "No major league player has tested positive for the virus," Boras added.
Individual players started to return home Friday and more will presumably follow suit this weekend. At least one team, the New York Yankees, voted to remain at their spring training site together. "We understand that it's serious, but the Yankees have a ton of resources in the area. We feel like this is a good place for us to be," .
Players who remain at their team's spring training complex will be have access to workout facilities (weight rooms, batting cages, indoor mounds, etc.), which will be staffed by coaches and medical personnel. With many players opting to return home, MLB will presumably launch a second, possibly abbreviated, spring training before the regular season can begin.