MLB 'Actively Considering Numerous' Options to Start 2020 Season amid COVID-19

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball released a statement Tuesday saying it is "actively considering numerous contingency plans" regarding how to begin the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic:

"MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so. While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association. The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus."

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Monday that MLB is pursuing an option that would allow the sport to resume sometime in May or June at a centralized location in Arizona. MLB and the MLBPA are consulting with federal health officials on the viability of the plan, which would be dependent on the status of the pandemic in the coming months.

The games would take place without fans and include several social distancing measures, including having players sit in the stands six feet apart rather than together in a dugout. A digital strike zone would also be implemented so the home plate umpire could keep a safe distance.

Other changes would include the elimination of mound visits and games being turned into seven-inning doubleheaders.

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MLB, like most other major sports leagues, shut down operations last month because of the virus. Commissioners from major sports leagues were part of a conference call Saturday with President Donald Trump, who later said he hoped sports would resume "sooner rather than later."