Report: MLB Prefers to Schedule at Least 80 Games, Play in Teams' Home ParksMay 3, 2020
As MLB considers plans for the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league hopes to fill a schedule of at least 80 games, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
"The preferred plan would be to start play in late June or early July with as many teams as possible playing in home parks," Topkin wrote.
There reportedly are other options, such as every team competing in Arizona or at spring sites in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, but those are reportedly "much less likely."
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports had previously reported a discussion about having teams play in one of three hubs in Florida, Arizona or Texas to help reduce travel. However, Topkin reported this idea is "being downplayed or dismissed."
The "preferred" plan would most closely resemble a normal season—even if abbreviated—with games played at regular stadiums while using standard travel schedules. The strategy would also allow teams to compete within their usual divisions, maintaining old rivalries.
As ESPN's Jeff Passan noted, a finalized plan by the end of May would allow the league to hold an 80- to 100-game season from July to October, with the playoffs taking place in November.
However, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding a disease that has already led to more than 65,000 deaths in the United States, per CNN.com. COVID-19 is also more widespread in some states than others, with New York having had over 300,000 confirmed cases as of Sunday.
It could create challenges for the Yankees, Mets and other teams to host games in the coming months.
Those around the league still believe MLB will figure out a plan.
"I'm more optimistic today than I was 10 days ago," Rays manager Kevin Cash said Friday. "It sounds like there's enough thought from so many different corners—players, owners, league officials—that the industry as a whole is really trying to put their heads together to make something come together for some sort of a season."