With Major League Baseball among the sports impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, commissioner Rob Manfred, along with multiple managers and players have emphasized a need to be flexible in what will be a unique season.
Of course, that is under the assumption MLB eventually is in position to play its 2020 season. They are taking guidance from health officials, who reportedly have given early support to MLB’s Arizona plan that calls for all 30 teams to descend upon The Grand Canyon State for the start of the season.
Without addressing specifics of the reported concept, the league emphasized no decision had been made. “The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount,” their statement read.
“And we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.”
According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, another option being considered is doing away with the American and National Leagues, and realigning divisions by utilizing the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues:
Major League Baseball, assessing myriad proposals, has discussed a radical plan that would eliminate the traditional American and National Leagues for 2020, a high-ranking official told USA TODAY Sports, and realign all six divisions for an abbreviated season.
The plan would have all 30 teams returning to their spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, playing regular-season games only in those two states and without fans in an effort to reduce travel and minimize risks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The divisions would be realigned based on the geography of their spring training homes.
Under that scenario, the Los Angeles Dodgers would be placed in a division with their Camelback Ranch co-tenant Chicago White Sox, plus the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and L.A. Angels:
NORTHEAST: Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics.
WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels.
NORTHWEST: Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals.
Under this scenario, the Dodgers and all teams in the Cactus League would appear to be at an advantage due to the close proximity of Spring Training facilities. Clubs in Florida are more spread out across the state, which could complicate MLB’s efforts to quarantine players and other personnel associated with the sport.
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