Major League Baseball is one of the many leagues across the world at a stadnstill. MLB leaders are still weighing plans for the 2020 season amid COVID-19 uncertainty.
Arizona and Florida Plan
MLB officials have put forth a few plans for the 2020 season. One of the most recent options thrown into the mix is sending teams back to their spring training facilities. This would mean baseball would be taking place in just Arizona and Florida but with no fans in attendance.
If chosen, this plan will essentially eliminate the typical league alignment. This means that the league will become the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues rather than American and National leagues. In addition to this, divisions will be restructured. For example, the Boston Red Sox share a division with the Atlanta Braves, as do the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.
NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter.
Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: https://t.co/zDoNa3k4pm
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
In early April, the idea of playing in an Arizona-only biosphere was brought to the table. This plan brings all 30 MLB teams to a secure location in Arizona. The teams will all play in the same area with no fans. With this plan, all players, coaches and personnel will receive COVID-19 tests regularly. Additionally, they will all quarantine in their hotel rooms when they aren’t playing.
According to ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan, at this point, it seems to be “Arizona or bust”. Passan said that the plan would be to play in Arizona for as little time as possible before returning to their home cities. The hope would be to obtain more information about COVID-19 while in the biosphere. However, Passan also said that fans should not expect to see a game live for the rest of the entirety of the season.
Players are split on this plan. Some are ready to play wherever and however possible, while others are more hesitant. This plan would include players leaving their families for months, which, at this time, is not favorable to some.
The Return of Baseball
Opening Day was supposed to happen on March 26. Since then, the MLB has had no concrete plan on when or how the season will take place. Most players and league personnel want the season to happen. Passan explained that canceling the season would be a huge financial hit to the league and to teams. However, at this time, the MLB does not have enough information to make a final decision regarding the season.
According to Passan, officials are taking this time to figure out how to make a positive and unique baseball experience with no fan presence. They are focusing on camera placement for broadcasts as well possible new and more exciting plans for extra innings. The league wants to invest in ways to make the season enjoyable for the entire country in such an unprecedented and unusual time.
MLB continues to mull over the proper time and place to return. But behind the scenes, officials are brainstorming about how to present the game better if and when they do. Empty stadiums could provide a canvas for the league to showcase baseball on TV in a completely novel way. pic.twitter.com/JfSW85KaW0
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 14, 2020
While it seems that fans will not experience a live baseball game until 2021, they are still awaiting anxiously for the game to return to their TV screens.