The Seattle Mariners will relocate its first home games of the season to a different venue after Washington governor Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that events containing 250 people or more would be prohibited in a number of Seattle counties until at least March 31. That includes King County, where T-Mobile Park is located.
Washington has experienced at least 25 deaths due to COVID-19. The state has been among the most affected by the virus. A number of local events have been canceled in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
While Major League Baseball has been hesitant to cancel games — instead opting to ban the media from clubhouses as a preventative measure — the league’s hand may have been forced by Inslee’s announcement Wednesday. Opening day is scheduled for March 26.
The Mariners and MLB had reportedly already been considered an alternative, and could look to play home series away from Seattle at the start of the season, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Mariners were scheduled to play the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins in Seattle to open the 2020 MLB season.
Other options will be — and have been — considered over the past couple weeks, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Divish notes that the Mariners have considered playing games at their spring training facilities in Arizona, or in Minnesota or Texas at the home ballparks of the opposing teams.
In a statement, the Mariners confirmed they were looking into alternative plans for the start of the season. The Rangers released a statement saying the team was working with the Mariners and MLB on a solution.
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