Major League Baseball considering 'numerous plans' including closed-door restart in Arizona

Tanya Simon
April 7, 2020

Because of the coronavirus, we already know that at least part of the 2020 Major League Baseball Season - if it occurs - could take part in Arizona.

It's embraced as the most likely option so far by the Major League Baseball and Players Association leadership, who started discussing it in multiple phone calls on Monday, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The league is considering "numerous contingency plans" for once the public health situation improves, according to the statement. "While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan".

The proposed Arizona plan would see games played at the Arizona Diamondbacks' home, Chase Field in Phoenix, as well as the 10 spring training stadiums within 25 miles of Phoenix.

Under the plan, teams would live in functional isolation, only traveling from stadiums to designated team hotels and interacting only with essential personnel while maintaining social distancing, according to Passan.

The report doesn't spell that out, but having everyone in a single setting facilitates all of the above, particularly since the facilities in Arizona aren't almost as scattered as in Florida.

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Such is the gravity of the situation that it's widely regarded seasons will stretch into July or August, or possibly beyond.

"I think players are willing to do what's necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment", Boras said. It's unclear if similar attempts would be made to start the minor league season as well.

Detroit Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch pledges to support part-time event employees and minor league players while the coronavirus pandemic postpones the season.

"You're going to be largely separated from your families and you're going to have to function in a very contained way". "It's not it's not a normal life, this idea".

If a deal is agreed on, teams would reportedly undergo a 2-3 week training camp in Arizona as protocols are tested. There's also a chance of seven-inning doubleheaders to increase the number of games played.

On the players' side, you would imagine the idea of as many as four months away from their families could make the idea a non-starter for several. "You're going to have an identified group of people".

Officials do not believe that a positive test would necessarily justify quarantining an entire team or shutting down the season once more, though, according to Passan, who notes that teams may carry significantly expanded rosters to account for the possibility of players testing positive.

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