When COVID-19 swept across the United States in early March, life changed swiftly and drastically. Sports came to an abrupt halt. Major League Baseball shut down spring training and postponed the beginning of the season indefinitely. But the drought may soon be over. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported earlier this week that Major League Baseball is in the process of creating a return-to-play proposal. The MLB Player’s Association must approve the proposal.
June Return A Possibility
This is not the first time Major League Baseball has spoken of playing through the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, there was talk of league realignment. The National and American Leagues would be scrapped, replaced instead with Grapefruit and Cactus Divisions. Rather than travelling around the country to play, all games would be held in the state of Arizona. Now, however, sources close to the league are optimistic that teams might be able to play in their home stadiums. Though there has been talk of a June spring training and a July 1 start date, some teams have created more general timelines to focus on getting players in game shape. However, Passan reports that several athletes are already utilizing team facilities to work out and says that stakeholders for many teams are in favor of a spring training lasting three to four weeks prior to the beginning of the season.
What would the season look like? Sources close to the league told Passan that teams could have up to 30 players on their active rosters for each game. Additionally, the season is likely to consist of around 80 to 100 games. Regardless, there must be a plan in place for what will happen should another outbreak occur during the season.
Though there is optimism surrounding the potential 2020 season, there is still much left to be determined. The league must decide what to do if a player feels unsafe playing as well as how to handle a positive COVID-19 test.