As the MLB season delay continues, questions remain as to when and how teams could take the field. Optimistic reports in recent weeks said that games could start in late June or early July, though the reported logistics surrounding the site and environment of games has varied. Hype was heightened this week when former Minnesota Twin Trevor Plouffe tweeted that the league would begin a training period on June 10 and officially launch the season on July 1. However, that scenario has been deemed unlikely.
Insider Jon Heyman of MLB Network quickly shared that while Plouffe’s suggested Opening Day is an optimistic target start date for MLB officials, the scenario likely won’t play out that quickly.
“The alleged July 1 start date for an MLB season would be wonderful; they’d love to begin then (or close to then),” Heyman tweeted Tuesday. “But while there’s hope, things aren’t as certain as that. MLB is still hearing conflicting info from politicians and doctors, and health concerns remain the priority.”
Heyman added that league executives have not disclosed any proposed start date to the union and that beginning the season by July 1 “isn’t ruled out but it isn’t close to a likelihood,” at least not for the time being.
This setback comes following a New York Times report detailing how new models project a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases. As the country moves towards reopening its economy, cases could spike nationwide to 200,000 new cases per day – a staggering jump from the roughly 25,000 cases reported daily now.
MLB officials have maintained that team safety is the priority for moving forward with games. In order to carry out a season as safely as possible, reported contingency plans have ranged from holding the season entirely in Arizona ballparks, to splitting teams between Arizona, Florida and Texas, to realigning divisions in order to keep teams in their home parks while limiting travel.