The opening of the Buffalo Bisons' season is the latest casualty of the coronavirus outbreak, as Minor League Baseball announced a delay to the start of the season Thursday afternoon, shortly after Major League Baseball scrapped the rest of spring training and said it will push its season back at least two weeks.
The Bisons were slated to open their season April 9 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and play their home opener in Sahlen Field April 17 against the Rochester Red Wings. A delay in the season will mean the 2020 campaign will have the latest start since the ballpark opened in 1988. And it's entirely possible the 140-game International League season will be shortened.
“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," MiLB said in a statement. "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 Bisons are entering their eighth year as a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate and their first season under new manager Ken Huckaby, a former catcher in the Blue Jays' organization.
"The Buffalo Bisons are in full support of the offices of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in their decision to delay the start of the 2020 season," the team said in a statement. "The health and well-being of fans, associates and players is and will always be our top priority. We will continue to monitor developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and will work closely with our partners in baseball as well as our elected public officials to determine the necessary steps moving forward.
"We will also communicate with our fans additional information with regards to ticketing for impacted games when details become available. We appreciate your patience and support and encourage all fans to exercise the necessary steps outlined by the Center for Disease Control to protect yourself and your communities.”