When Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of Spring Training and delayed the start of the 2020 regular season, it thrust the sport into a world of uncertainty.
At the time, the hope was to stage Opening Day on April 9. However, that possibility was ruled out shortly after, as MLB pushed back the start of the season for a second time. It remains indefinitely suspended and the long layoff has created a domino effect with respect to Spring Training.
With players relegated to home workouts in most situations, a second camp would need to be held before the regular season could begin. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, another stretch of Spring Training could be held at Major League stadiums rather than using facilities in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues:
Major League Baseball teams, if they’re able to play this year, are preparing for the possibility of resuming spring training at their regular-season ballparks instead of returning to spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, four team executives told USA TODAY Sports.
Like with other plans MLB has reportedly begun to evaluate, holding Spring Training in team’s home cities rather than Arizona and Florida has its benefits and concerns.
It would alleviate the need for some — likely most — players to quarantine in a hotel. Instead, they would be able to do so slightly more comfortably in a home they already are familiar with as preparations were being made for the regular season.
A downside, however, would be the reduced space available to players. Spring Training facilities across MLB boast upwards of five or six fields, which allows for simultaneous workouts and batting practice sessions.
Another challenge with sending teams to their home ballparks is the impact on how viable it would be for them to play games against opponents.
No matter how it ultimately unfolds, several players have estimated a second Spring Training would need to be two or three weeks in order to provide starting pitchers with ample opportunity to stretch out.
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