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Coronavirus: MLB commissioner calls for optimism on postponed Opening Day

March 26 2020 4:40 PM

Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred called for "optimism that is synonymous with Opening Day" and "unflinching determination" despite uncertainty over when the season will start.

The first MLB matches of 2020 were due to take place on Thursday, but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the start of the season.

Manfred wrote an open letter to baseball fans amid the COVID-19 crisis on a day that is usually so eagerly awaited, stressing the importance of following advice from health experts and the government.

He also expressed his pride over donations made by the baseball community for those in need during such unprecedented times.

Manfred wrote: "Opening Day holds an important place in our hearts. It signifies the arrival of spring, the promise of new beginnings, the return of following your favourite team on a long journey filled with twists and turns, and the hope that your team will put together a magical season you will remember forever.

"Today is unlike any Opening Day in Major League Baseball's long history. We need to call on the optimism that is synonymous with Opening Day and the unflinching determination required to navigate an entire baseball season to help us through the challenging situation currently facing us all.

"We can do this together by following the direction of our public health experts and government officials to collectively address this global pandemic. Baseball will return, just as soon as it’s safe to do so. You can find helpful information at MLB.com/covid19resources.

"I'm proud of how the baseball community has rallied to respond to this unprecedented challenge.

"In a short period of time under difficult and rapidly changing circumstances, we have met the needs of Minor League players by creating a level of uniform compensation for them, made a $1million joint donation with the MLBPA to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America, and our Clubs have committed $30million to ballpark employees. In addition, we will be shining a light on worthy charities that are involved with the COVID-19 response. If you are able to help, you can make contributions to these organizations at MLB.com/give.

"Throughout our history, baseball has helped us get through difficult times. Baseball will continue to be here for you as we face these challenges together as a community and we look forward to when we can safely get back on the field and hear the words, 'Play Ball.'"

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