COVID-19: WBSC Updates in 2020

COVID-19: WBSC Updates in 2020
The timeline includes a break down, month-by-month, of the major WBSC news stories throughout 2020 pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has compiled a timeline of news articles regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global baseball softball season in 2020, including key announcements from the WBSC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) named COVID-19 an infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) on 11 February 2020. COVID is an acronym that stands for Coronavirus Disease and 19 stands for the fact that the disease was first identified in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019.

The WHO declared a state of global health emergency on 30 January 2020. Italy was the first G7 country heavily hit by the global pandemic. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree that established a nationwide red zone on 9 March.

At the time, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) had already celebrated the first tournament of the season, the WBSC U-18 Men's Softball World Cup in New Zealand. Japan defeated Australia on 1 March to claim the U-18 Softball World Title.

Following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the following weeks and months, the WBSC took all necessary steps to safeguard event participants.


27 February - WBSC Medical Commission issues 12 tips to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at sports venues


2 March - The WBSC announces the postponement of the Final Olympic Baseball Qualifier to June.
12 March - The WBSC announces the postponement of the Americas Olympic Baseball Qualifier
13 March - World Baseball Classic Qualifier postponed
16 March - Major League Baseball (MLB) suspends 2020 Spring Training
19 March - Message from the WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari on the coronavirus: The strength of the baseball-softball community will help during these unprecedented times
21 March - Baseball still making headlines in Japan with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) pre-season games in fan-less stadiums
24 March - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) postpones the Summer Olympics to "a date beyond 2020, but not later than the Summer of 2021" in order to "safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Games and the international community."
24 March - Message from the WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari on the postponement of Tokyo 2020
25 March - The WBSC announces the postponement of the Final Baseball Olympic Qualifier to a date TBD
26 March - Video: WBSC Coach Commission Members, Instructors reach out to players, fans, officials amid COVID-19 pandemic
27 March - Baseball being played in Korea with masks as Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) hopes to open on 21 April
27 March - Videos: WBSC Coach Commission provides indoor baseball-softball drills
30 March - The IOC announces the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will begin on 23 July and finish on 8 August 2021


01 April - The WBSC announces the postponement of the 2020 Women’s and U-15 Baseball World Cups, U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup
07 April - President Fraccari honours #WorldHealthDay by thanking nurses around the world
8 April - Baseball season in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), to open with robot fans in the stands
8 April - Korea's pro baseball league KBO targets early May Opening Day
11 April - Colombian baseball star Julio Teherán urges fans to stay home
14 April - The first professional league to return to action - Taiwan's CPBL - opens behind closed doors
16 April - New roadmap for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 prepared
22 April - The WBSC announces the postponement of the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup 2021
24 April - Baseball Canada cancels 2020 National Championships
26 April - Women’s professional softball season opens in Taiwan
27 April - Softball in China resumes


4 May - The WBSC announces the postponement of the Women's Softball World Cup to 2023
5 May - KBO league restarts
5 May - Colombian baseballer Oscar Mercado: "The COVID-19 pandemic is serious, stay at home"
6 May - EUR 50,000 fund launched as baseball, softball seasons cancelled in France
8 May - CPBL starts admitting fans
8 May - Youth baseball revives in USA with modified rules and social distancing
9 May - Taiwan's CPBL opens stadiums to fans, games sold out
19 May - President Fraccari: Baseball-softball need to be at the heart of global COVID-19 recovery
22 May - Czech ExtraLiga first baseball league to open in Europe
22 May - Softball Canada cancels 2020 championships
24 May - Belgium baseball and softball gets underway


6 June - Czech Republic's ExtraLiga softball leagues open
10 June - The WBSC announces the new dates of the WBSC Men's Softball World Cup 2022
11 June - The WBSC announces the postponement of the first Baseball5 World Cup to June 2021
12 June - Finland and Bulgaria leagues begin
13 June - Switzerland baseball league opens
14 June - Italy opens both of its baseball and softball top leagues
19 June - NPB opens its regular season
20 June - Switzerland softball league starts
25 June - Danish softball leagues open
26 June - Baseball resumes in Nicaragua with First Division Championship
30 June - The WBSC announces the postponement of the U-23 Baseball World Cup to 24 September-3 October 2021


2 July - Mexican Baseball League LMB 2020 season officially cancelled
3 July - Austria baseball league opens
4 July - Ukraine baseball league opens
5 July - Baseball-softball season starts in Italy and Poland
10 July - NPB starts admitting fans
13 July - Germany and Netherlands play first international women's softball games of the year
15 July - The debut of Baseball5 on the programme of the next Youth Olympics is delayed after the IOC postpones the Dakar Games to 2026
16 July - The WBSC announces the postponement of the Women's Softball U-18 World Cup, that was scheduled for August, to 2021
17 July - Dates, general schedule confirmed for Olympic softball and baseball for next year's Tokyo 2020 Games
18 July - The Netherlands' baseball and softball leagues start
19 July - Austria softball league opens
20 July - Ireland softball league starts
23 July - Major League Baseball (MLB) opens its season
24 July - CPBL gets green light to fill stadiums up to 70% capacity
26 July - KBO starts admitting fans
29 July - Belgium puts season on hold


8 August - Russian and German baseball and softball leagues open their season
11 August - Baseball first sport in Italy to welcome fans
24 August - German baseball and softball leagues celebrate opening day
24 August - KBO goes back to empty ballparks
28 August - Belgium baseball and softball leagues resume play


9 September - Japan Women’s Softball League opens
16 September - Panama Baseball Championship to open on 9 October
19 September - Baseball, softball leagues resume in Spain
22 September - Baseball, softball seasons in Brazil cancelled


1 October - WBSC confirms new dates for inaugural U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup in Lima, Peru
5 October - WBSC Members vote to hold IV Congress in March 2022
12 October - Fans return to KBO games ahead of the regular season final stretch
13 October - The WBSC Women’s, U-15 Baseball World Cups in Mexico postponed to March 2021
14 October - Softball Australia cancels 2021 women’s national championship
16 October - Various European leagues shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions
19 October - Mexican Pacific League LMP opens, fans admitted in eight ballparks
30 October - New WBSC Academy opens first online courses in a push to further globalise baseball, softball


2 November - Nearly 28k pack into Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball, softball venue to boost COVID-19 safety response
5 November - WBSC shares with Olympic Movement baseball case study on successfully running COVID-secure sports event
8 November - Lions win Taiwan Series before another sell-out crowd
10 November - Mexican Pacific League LMP on hold until 15 November
19 November - Softball Australia cancels 2021 Men’s National Championship
20 November - Colombian pro baseball 2020-2021 season to start on 28 November as Sports Minister confirms support for baseball in the country
26 November - Baseball leagues in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic prepare to open
30 November - New dates released for WBSC U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup in Peru


1 December - Colombian Professional Baseball League LCBP opens 2020-21 season
3 December - Global baseball-softball development doesn’t stop amid global pandemic
10 December - WBSC approves E-Sports as new discipline and virtual version of Baseball/Softball, setting stage for future official World Cup video games
10 December - First-ever Baseball5 World Cup set for 2022 as WBSC announces five-on-five international calendar
18 December - End-of-the-year message from WBSC President to the global Baseball Softball community
21 December - WBSC Athletes Commission stays active, reviews game amid COVID-19 pandemic