On Monday, discussed a plan that could start the baseball season as early as May, with all games played in empty ballparks in Arizona amid the outbreak.
But before you shout, “Play Ball,” the plan is still in its early stages and the catch is the ballparks would be empty.
It supposedly has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe it can safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic and has been embraced as the most likely option so far by the MLB and Players Association leadership.
This plan does have some major obstacles to overcome. “It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” said high-profile baseball agent, Scott Boras. “I think players are willing to do what’s necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.”
In the proposed plan, all 30 teams would play games at the Phoenix area ballparks with no fans in attendance. ESPN reported the fields include Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field, 10 spring training facilities and additional fields. Compared to other spring training states like Florida, the ballparks in Arizona are within an area of just 50 miles. To limit the potential spread of the virus, players and staff would be isolated at local hotels and travel only to and from the stadiums.
While the plan seems like a great alternative to the current situation of no MLB games, there are a few downside to this proposal. There will be a separation of players and families for an extended period of time, an estimated four month period.
In addition, a major component missing will be the absence of fans. This means a lack of ticket sales, which is the main source of revenue for the league. However, according to ESPN, money would still be generated from additional television broadcasts