It looks like Major League Baseball is putting a plan in place that would allow teams to start the 2020 season in May.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that as part of the plan, all 30 teams would play games with no fans in 10 stadiums across the greater Phoenix area. The league is apparently working with high ranking federal government officials, who are in support of the idea.
As part of the process, players and essential team staff will stay isolated in their respective hotels and only allowed to travel when they’re going and returning from the ball park.
Passan says his sources are saying some of the other stipulations in the plan include:
• Implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter
• No mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach
• Seven-inning doubleheaders, which, with an earlier-than-expected start date, could allow baseball to come closer to a full 162-game season
• Regular use of on-field microphones by players, as an added bonus for TV viewers
• Sitting in the empty stands 6 feet apart — the recommended social-distancing space — instead of in a dugout
As Passan points out, there are still many hurdles to clear before this can officially become a reality.
“The May return date depends on a number of concerns being allayed, and some officials believe a June opening day could be more realistic, sources said. Most important would be a significant increase in available coronavirus tests with a quick turnaround time, which sources familiar with the plan believe will happen by early May and allow MLB’s testing not to diminish access for the general public.”
Another interesting tidbit from the story is that the league and federal health officials have been discussing this plan for some time now. The union will have to sign off on the idea, and be ok with the fact they may be away from their families for months.
There are still a lot of moving parts to all of this, but if all goes according to plan, we could have baseball back next month.
What do you think of the league’s plan?