Despite ongoing negotiations between Major League Baseball and its Players Association that haven’t exactly gone well, the expectation remains that a 2020 regular season will be played in some capacity.
After more than three months off due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the hope is that MLB will still be able to get a season in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 games in with an expanded postseason to salvage what has been a rough year for everyone.
Health and safety still remain the most important factor in all of this though, and with coronavirus cases continuing to spike in multiple states, MLB may have to reevaluate its original plan of teams playing in home stadiums.
On Friday, members of the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays organizations were reported as having tested positive for coronavirus. With teams not required to report cases, there likely have been more as well.
As such, MLB is now considering taking a page out of the NBA’s book and playing the entire 2020 season in one location, according to Jared Diamond and Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal:
But now, officials are revisiting a long-abandoned “bubble” plan, which would require sequestering players, coaches and staff in one central location and playing all games there. The reason: 11 players on 40-man rosters from seven teams—two based in Texas, four that train in Florida and one that trains in Arizona—have tested positive for Covid-19 this month, a person familiar with the matter said.
With that, MLB may be considering Southern California as the place to host the season:
This person familiar with baseball’s thinking said that MLB could look at Southern California as a potential site. … It’s still unclear whether the “bubble” plan will become serious enough for the league to broach with the union.
Southern California has three MLB stadiums in Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and Petco Park, as well as various colleges that could place host to games if that is what the league decided to go with.
MLB previously considered Florida, Arizona and Texas as host states, although those are the current coronavirus hotspots and don’t seem to be options anymore.
Once MLB and the MLBPA come to an agreement on financials, then the focus will likely shift towards health and safety details, chief among them being where games will be played. However, if commissioner Rob Manfred is forced to impose a season, health guidelines will first need to be agreed to.
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