The calendar has hit the middle of April, but the 2020 Major League Baseball season has yet to get underway due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While MLB and all of the parties involved are committed to getting some sort of season in, commissioner Rob Manfred recently stated baseball won’t return until the public health situation has improved to the point where it’s safe enough for all involved.
Most everyone has accepted games likely will not take place with fans in attendance at any time in 2020, but the league has already begun discussing potential solutions for the players to return to the field.
The most likely scenario is all teams playing games at Spring Training facilities in Arizona and also potentially Florida so that they can all be in one place and don’t need to travel.
That would need the states’ approvals, of course, and it seems that Arizona governor Doug Ducey has given the OK to play games there when it is safe enough, via Nick Piecoro of USA Today:
“I have had discussions with the commissioner of Major League Baseball,” Ducey said, referring to Rob Manfred. “While I want to hold the content of those discussions in confidence, I just want everyone to know that Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state, at the time that it would be appropriate for public health if Arizona were in a position to reopen. We have the facilities that are here. We have the hotel space that is here. We want to make sure that the metrics and data are proper before we are able to go forward.”
There still are a ton of other factors that need to be considered to make this happen, but getting Arizona’s approval was the first step, so this is good news on that front.
Asking players to quarantine themselves other than playing games while also being away from their families is a tough ask. It will be interesting to see if that is a deal-breaker for the MLB Players Association, or if they are willing to work with the league to get a season in.
The most important thing by far though is the country getting the virus under control, so it likely will be another couple of months before a return to the field can even be considered.
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