The MLB is thinking through every possible solution for being able to start the 2020 season. Solutions range from all games being played in Arizona for some time to robot umpires.
One of the most thought about plans to be able to start the 2020 season is having all games in Phoenix, AZ for the beginning of the season. Phoenix is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Chase Field as well as many other teams’ spring training facilities. Phoenix has the facilities to do this, but other logistics are the problem.
If this plan were to be chosen, every player and coach would have to be in Arizona and, with the exception of the Diamondbacks, would be away from their families. The team personnel would be relatively isolated in hotels and would only commute to and from the stadium, sources said. Games in this plan would happen not with fans in the stands, but rather with players in the stands, ESPN’s Jeff Passan said.
The MLB has not sought or received approval from state or local officials or the Players Association for this plan. Many players are very against this plan for a number of reasons. Jeff Passan discussed this on ESPN’s Get Up on April 7.
There are going to be players who oppose the Arizona plan — who prefer to wait and see if alternative solutions for playing present themselves. And it’s easy to understand why: separating from your family for potentially months at a time is an enormous ask of anyone. pic.twitter.com/0DQPTvWS5B
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
Some other solutions the MLB has come up with include electronic strike zones and increased testing.
The MLB would have to increase the amount of tests for the coronavirus if they plan to start games soon. It could even be possible that players would have to be tested multiple times if the pandemic continues.
Robot umpires are also a potential plan. They would set up electronic strike zones in an effort to follow social distancing guidelines. These electronic strike zones would allow the umpires to view the pitches while separated from the plate. Instead of umpires being directly behind the catcher, these robot umpires would allow them to be at a much safer distance.
Overall, the MLB is still very unsure as to how they can start the 2020 season. As said in the MLB’s statement on Tuesday, the MLB “[is] 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.”