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Giants Cancel Exhibition Game Vs. A’s At Oracle Park After San Francisco Order On Coronavirus

Barry M. Bloom

The Giants have canceled their annual Bay Bridge Series exhibition game against the Oakland A’s at Oracle Park in San Francisco, scheduled for March 24, because of local health restrictions amid the spread of the coronavirus.

An order Wednesday, coming through the office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, cancels all “large group events of 1,000 persons or more” in the city and county of San Francisco for two weeks, also putting the Giants’ April 3 home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers in jeopardy.

“The Public Health Order will initially go into effect for two weeks and can be reauthorized by the Health Officer,” noted a release from the Mayor’s office. “The Order will be updated as the COVID-19 situation evolves in San Francisco.”

“We know that this Order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” Mayor Breed said.

The coronavirus is officially called, SARS-CoV-2, and causes the disease known as COVID-19, which the World Health Organization officially termed a pandemic Wednesday.

The Giants have another Bay Bridge Series game vs. the A’s March 23 at the Oakland Coliseum, which is still on the schedule. The city of Oakland and the County of Alameda have yet to enact similar health restrictions.

Neither has Los Angeles County, where the Giants are still slated to open the season March 26 against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Those games are also in jeopardy as the coronavirus spreads throughout California, which is under a start of emergency. Major League Baseball has said for now the games will go on as they have during spring training without interruption in Arizona and Florida. 

But they won’t right now in San Francisco.

“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us. We have been in close coordination with MLB and our local health and government agencies to monitor and plan for any potential impacts of COVID-19,” the Giants said in a statement Thursday announcing cancelation of the March 24 game. 

“We have no other large public gatherings scheduled at Oracle Park during this time period. We are in the process of working with MLB and the A’s to finalize alternative arrangements. We will make that information available as soon as possible.“

The probability of the exhibition games being played in Arizona is high as MLB determines if and when the sport will start the regular season.

The A’s said in their own statement that “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community.”

“We will adhere to government directives, and work with MLB on alternative arrangements to ensure the health of our fans,” they said.

Under the San Francisco edict, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors said they would play Thursday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets in an empty Chase Center, which opened this season just about a mile south of Oracle Park on the San Francisco waterfront.

Subsequently, the NBA suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the disease.

Giants players Evan Longoria and Buster Posey both said they don’t foresee their games played at Oracle sans fans.

Longoria, who played for the Tampa Bay Rays during some low attendance seasons during his decade there, said it’s not a lot of fun.

“I mean, I’ve played in some pretty empty ballparks,” he said Tuesday on the first day Major League clubhouses were closed to the media because of the coronavirus. “Not only in Tampa. You play a lot in the minor leagues in a stadium that has 50 or 100 people. It’s not fun. We do get a lot of energy from the fans.

”I don’t want that to happen. I hope it doesn’t happen.”

Ditto, Posey.

“This is my speculation,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday. “I don’t see us personally playing a game in an empty stadium. I think we would move where we can play those games somewhere else.

“I just don’t know what it would look like. If you would postpone games, how long are we talking? How long do we push it back – until we’re playing games at Christmas? [But] baseball is still secondary when something like this is going on.” 

I have been a baseball writer since 1976, a National Baseball Hall of Fame voter since 1992, and a current contributing columnist for Forbes. My national reports and…

I have been a baseball writer since 1976, a National Baseball Hall of Fame voter since 1992, and a current contributing columnist for Forbes. My national reports and columns appeared on from 2002-18.