MLB is currently halted, and insiders believe that the only way to move forward with the 2020 season is by playing games in Arizona.
Earlier this month, the league discussed a new idea: putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and playing empty ballparks. The potential plan could allow the league to start games “as early as May,” Before the plan could be implemented, however, the league would need to rely on ‘a significant increase in available coronavirus tests’ to test players before the season begins.
In order for the plan to work, MLB would also need all of its players to sign off on the idea – and players would have to agree to be apart from their homes and families for the whole season. Then, players would be isolated to strict travel between the team hotel and the ballpark, with the inability to interact with people outside of their bubble.
ESPN‘s Jeff Passan told “Get Up” host Mike Greenberg this week that the plan to have teams play in Arizona is the most likely way baseball can begin in the coming months. He said that it seems like it’s going to be “Arizona or bust for Major League Baseball,” noting that the league “may have to get to the point where they say to themselves, this is what we are going to try to do even if we can’t ultimately pull it off.”
Passan went on to note that this idea the Arizona plan is more likely than the idea of splitting the season between spring training sites of Florida Arizona.
“Even though they’ll probably be playing in empty stadiums for the rest of the year, the idea is that this would be a two or three month thing as opposed to a four, five or six month thing that encapsulates the entire season,” Passan said.
At this point, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is on board with the idea.
“Two words that would allow the country and the state of Arizona to know that things were headed back to normal would be, ‘Play ball,'” Ducey told the Arizona Republic.
While Ducey said discussions have been in place, he knows that neither the state nor the league are ready to make a full decision yet and at this time, he wants to “hold the content of those discussions in confidence. Nonetheless, he approves the idea.
“I just want everyone to know that Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state, at this time that it would be appropriate for public health if Arizona were in a position to reopen,” Ducey said. “We have the facilities here. WE have the hotel space that is here. We want to make sure that the metrics and data are proper before we are able to go forward.”
At this time, the league has not officially announced how they will proceed with the season.