MLB Parks Closed On ‘Opening Day’

ARLINGTON, Texas, USA (AP) – There will be no sausage on the grill, no beer to serve, no vendor in the stands offering peanuts, and no Cracker Jack.

The gleaming stadium in the heart of Texas will have to keep waiting for the Rangers’ first game. Instead of practicing for his debut with the New York Yankees after signing a record $ 324 million, nine-year deal, Gerrit Cole is playing pitching with his wife at home.


Given that the start of the Major League season was indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the stadiums will be left empty this Thursday on what was supposed to be the festive start to the season.

“You get used to seeing people running everywhere. We have more than 200 people working at the stadium, ”said Roger Bossard, a fielder who has 54 years working with the Chicago White Sox. “It certainly is strange when no one is there. You walk in the hallways or under the stands and there is nobody, but it is understandable. ”

From Baltimore to Miami in the East, from San Diego to Seattle in the West _ and in 11 other cities that would host season-opening games on Thursday_ no games will be held. It also won’t happen in any of the other 15 major league stadiums, at least in a couple of months.

After they postponed a Chris Stapleton concert that would open Globe Life Park on March 14 – just three days after they held an event open to the public as scheduled – the Rangers were planning an exhibition game this week.

Their inaugural duel at home would have happened next Tuesday, after playing the first series in Seattle.

“The park was 100% ready to open,” said Casey Rapp, general manager of the Rangers’ new home for the Delaware North Sportservice company, which oversees the major-league 10-stadium facilities. “It was the little things that we wanted to perfect.”

Dealerships plan months before opening. This means that many products, such as hot dogs, bottled beverages and frozen food, had already been delivered to stadiums before the season was suspended.

“It is definitely different. It’s something never seen before, that big sports within the United States would be closed at the same time, ”said Ken Gaber, vice president of operations for Delaware North Sportservice. “Personally it is difficult. I think everyone feels the same. “

Delaware North has donated to charities over 18,500 kilos (41,000 pounds) of food, including perishables that had been shipped to baseball stadiums they operate and to dealers at other centers, including the NBA and NHL arenas (the ice hockey) that were suddenly closed mid-season.

For most people, the new coronavirus only causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and a cough that goes away in two to three weeks.

There are no reports of major baseball players testing positive for the new coronavirus. Two minor league players in the New York Yankees did contract the disease.

This week, the Red Sox closed their entire preseason complex in Fort Myers, Florida, after reporting that one of their minor league players had tested positive.