MLB Rumors: League Still Investigating Plan to Start 2020 Season in Arizona

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2020

A detail view of a baseball glove with the MLB logo during a Northwestern State University at Houston Baptist University NCAA college baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)
Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

Major League Baseball is reportedly still considering a plan that would see the 2020 season begin in Arizona with no fans present.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, MLB and the players' union have not spoken about the proposal again since first discussing it April 6, but that is because both sides are talking to medical experts and MLB is investigating its feasibility.

An anonymous league official told Rosenthal and Drellich: "Different plans require different levels of restriction for players, different economics associated with it, different start dates."

The 2020 MLB season had been set to begin March 26, but play was suspended during spring training because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arizona plan would see all players, coaches and staff get tested for COVID-19 regularly and remain quarantined in hotels when they aren't playing.

While the plan has some support among federal officials, per Rosenthal and Drellich, the uncertainty regarding the spread of the coronavirus and when sports will be permitted to resume has prevented the two sides from exploring the proposal more deeply.

There are plenty of obstacles that would have to be overcome if MLB moves forward with the Arizona plan, not the least of which is the fact that temperatures routinely top 100 degrees in Phoenix during the time when the games would be played.

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Also, the teams that are stationed in Florida for spring training would reportedly favor a plan that would allow games to be played in both Arizona and Florida.

Last week, Bob Nightengale of USA Today detailed a plan that would see MLB realign its leagues and divisions for one season to accommodate where teams' spring training facilities are located.

Rather than the American League and National League, there would be a Grapefruit League, with games played only in Florida, and a Cactus League, with games played only in Arizona. The normal divisions would be jumbled as well.

Regardless of which plan MLB goes with, fans are unlikely to be permitted to attend games anytime soon, and the World Series could go into November or even December and would likely be played in a neutral, domed stadium.

Any scenario that results in a 2020 MLB season would be a welcomed one for baseball fans, but with the NBA and NHL seasons suspended as well and no end in sight to stay-at-home orders across the nation, there is no telling when baseball will get back up and running.

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