REPORT: MLB Considering Games in Arizona for the 2020 Season
With the goal of playing as many games as possible, the MLB and MLBPA are exploring playing all the games in Arizona as an option.
As the MLB hashed out the rules with the MLBPA within the last two weeks, they’re in the early stages of deciding if games should all be played in Arizona with no audience. Training would start as early as May and games “shortly thereafter”.
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.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: https://t.co/zDoNa3k4pm
10 different ballparks and Chase Field are all within 50 miles of each other. In Passan’s article, players are reluctant because they’re far from families and their homes, which is totally understandable. Since the agreement between the union and the MLB was to play as many games as necessary, this would definitely solve that. Additionally, the MLB would almost have sole ownership of the sports arena if they’re the only sport playing, and they’re working with federal health officials to do so.
Oddly enough, this move could help expand the audience, especially if people are still quarantined in their homes. This implementation would require players to sit in the stands instead of the dugouts, allow for an electronic strike zone for the umpire to maintain distance from the players, as well as microphones on the players. This was a success for ESPN’s spring training games, so this is a smart move to expand this. If the player’s union agrees, baseball with no fans is better than no baseball at all.
On the other side of the coin, the MLBPA union is stronger than the NFLPA. Not every MLB player owns a home in Arizona where he and his family can reside. What if a player’s parent or other family member gets sick because of COVID-19? Flying to be with the rest of his family is less likely than in a climate without a pandemic. There are other issues at hand that the MLB may not completely be considering. Fans would love baseball, but not at the expense of the player’s safety and health.
The situation remains fluid, as the MLB explores all options.