Report: MLB Teams May Be Asked to Move Ballparks If City Deemed Hotspot

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 27, 2020

Minute Maid park is seen before an NCAA baseball game between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Arkansas for the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
Matt Patterson/Associated Press

As cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in different areas of the country, Major League Baseball is reportedly prepared to ask clubs to move locations for the time being once play resumes in late July.

According to an ESPN report, a senior MLB official said if government officials decide it's unsafe to play in a designated city, teams will be moved to other ballparks. 

MLB issued the following statement to ESPN:

"We will play in a particular location only when we have approval from all relevant governmental authorities. To date, all governmental authorities have been favorably inclined to allow play, at least in empty stadiums, based on our extensive protocols. This situation may change as developments with respect to the virus occur. If and when that happens, we will make adjustments to comply with any change in governmental policy.

"Independent of any governmental regulation, MLB will continually monitor the developing course of the pandemic with our experts. We will consult with the Players Association and will make operational decisions with the safety of our players and staff as the foremost consideration."

Players are set to return to their market cities for a second training period July 1 with Opening Day tentatively scheduled for either July 23 or July 24. 

Some teams, however, have already been forced to close down their spring training facilities due to employees and players contracting COVID-19, including the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. 

The Blue Jays are already in a bit of a bind due to Canada's mandatory 14-day quarantine period for any people traveling internationally. The team is expected to tell its players where to travel for the training period—and, potentially, their home games—by Monday, per the Associated Press.

In Texas, Houston's top public health official, Dr. David Persse, will have final say over games taking place in the city. 

"If the public's health is threatened, I will take a stand," Persse told ESPN. "From an operational standpoint, I find myself in the position where I'm going to have to be the one, that if I think it's going in the wrong direction, to make a stand."

It remains unknown where MLB would send teams who are unable to play in their home markets or how that would affect the league's plan to keep clubs geographically contained to their league divisions. 

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