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Start of Las Vegas Aviators’ season delayed

Updated March 12, 2020 - 1:52 pm

Minor League Baseball has delayed the start of its season after Major League Baseball fell in line with the NBA, NHL and other sports leagues and organizations Thursday by announcing the halt of spring training games and delaying the start of the 2020 season by a minimum of two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“For us, we have to follow the direction of MLB — the commissioner’s office is our ultimate authority,” Aviators president Don Logan said, adding there would be a conference call among minor league officials Friday to discuss adjustments.

MiLB released the following statement Thursday:

“In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, and after consultation with medical professionals and our partners at Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball will delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. We will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 season at a later date. We will work with Major League Baseball and our community partners to resume play as soon as it is safe to do so.

“The health and safety of Minor League Baseball fans, players and executives is our top priority, and our thoughts are with those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak.”

The statement also said MLB teams have been preparing contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule.

The city of Oakland Wednesday night banned all events in city-owned venues with 1,000 or more people through March. The A’s at the time said they were working with MLB on alternative plans for scheduled home games.

That increased speculation the A’s could move games to Las Vegas Ballpark, home of their Triple-A affiliate Aviators. There is precedent for such a move — during the 1996 renovation of the Oakland Coliseum, the A’s opened the season with six games at Cashman Field, two against the Toronto Blue Jays and four against the Detroit Tigers.

Logan said he has not heard from the A’s or any other major league teams about playing games in Las Vegas.

Health experts have said moving games and other events to another location does not make sense when so much is still unknown about the spread of the virus.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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