Major League Baseball is considering the use of spring training sites to start the 2020 regular season, most likely in Arizona, with the players quarantined and no fans in the stands, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported.
MLB pushed back its scheduled March 26 start date because of the coronavirus pandemic and hasn’t set a new date for Opening Day as it weighs its options.
While extending the season until Thanksgiving and playing multiple doubleheaders are options discussed between MLB and the players union, Rosenthal said games in Florida and Arizona also are possible.
Arizona would be more likely logistically because the spring training sites are closer together, but it still presents a problem to house all 30 teams in one area. Rosenthal added the plan could be “potentially controversial, sources say, requiring local, state and federal government cooperation and resources that might be necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic.”
Rosenthal said there is some worry that despite being isolated from the public, players could be exposed to the coronavirus from a hotel worker, for example, who leaves the property and encounters someone with the disease.
While MLB had hoped for a mid-May start, that is unlikely. There are social distancing guidelines in place through the end of April and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against gatherings of 50 or more through at least May 10.
With the coronavirus yet to reach its peak in the United States, the CDC could extend that date.
As of Saturday, there were more than 290,000 cases and about 8,000 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
–Field Level Media