Baseball's present is on hold, its immediate future is uncertain and at least one major part of its storied past will be temporarily inaccessible.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, announced Saturday that it will close to the public indefinitely, beginning Sunday, at 5 p.m. ET in response to the current global crisis surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.
"This precautionary measure is being implemented in accordance with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and government officials to limit opportunities for large gatherings and the further spread of the COVID-19 virus," the Hall said in its statement.
The announcement could hardly be considered a surprise given the cancellation or postponement of a dizzying array of sporting events over the past few days. Still, the closure of the Hall will be a jarring site in Cooperstown, an idyllic village of fewer than 2,000 residents nestled in upstate New York alongside Otsego Lake. The Hall of Fame is usually open every day of the year save for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, and can accommodate as many as 3,000 visitors per day during its peak season, according to the museum's website.
The most high-profile time on the Hall's calendar is induction weekend, which this year is scheduled to run from July 24 to 27. The Induction Day ceremonies are slated for Sunday, July 26, when players Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons will be enshrined along with the late Marvin Miller, former president of the MLB Players Association.
The Hall of Fame will provide updates via its website and social media channels at noon ET each Sunday beginning March 22.