COVID-19 concerns could impact the start of Twins season

The Minnesota Twins are slated to begin the 2020 season in just over two weeks, but as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country some changes could be in store.

The Twins are scheduled to open their season on March 26 in Oakland. After that four-game series, the team is supposed to go to Seattle for three games, at least for now.

On Wednesday, Washington state banned large group events due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the Mariners said it is working with Major League Baseball "on alternative plans for our games that were scheduled for the end of March at T-Mobile Park in Seattle."

At this time, it’s unclear what the options include. Some sports teams in Europe have begun playing without fans in the stadium while some NCAA conferences have canceled postseason tournaments altogether.

However, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press that if Major League Baseball is unable to play in front of fans at a team’s home ballpark because of the coronavirus outbreak, the sport’s first preference likely would be to shift games to the visiting team’s stadium if possible. That could mean the Twins playing their first home game a week earlier.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors announced plans to play its home games without fans for the foreseeable future starting Thursday to observe the San Francisco Health Office’s order banning group events of 1,000 people or more, similar to Washington state’s orders.

While Golden State plays its home games in San Francisco, the Oakland Athletics play home games just 16 miles away.

As of Wednesday afternoon, neither the city of Oakland nor the Athletics had issued any statement regarding COVID-19, but it’s a situation that is continuing to develop quickly around the country.

The Twins and their fans will, for now, just have to play the wait-and-see game as the situation continues to develop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.