Major League Baseball stated Tuesday that holding games in one central area is one of several ideas discussed regarding how and when it becomes safe to start the season.
But, the league added, that option has not been settled on and has not been submitted for approval from government and health officials or the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The statement came a day after ESPN reported that a plan to start the season as early as May with all games taking place in the Phoenix area with no spectators present has been embraced by the league and the players’ union with support from “high-ranking federal public health officials.”
The Associated Press reported that such a plan was discussed Monday during a phone call between the MLB and the MLBPA.
“MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so,” the league said in its statement. While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the remainder of spring training was canceled March 12 and opening day was pushed back from March 26 until mid-May at the earliest.
The Arizona plan would involve the sequestering of players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel at local hotels, with only travel to and from stadiums allowed.
There are 11 ballparks, including the Diamondbacks’ home, Chase Field, within 50 miles of each other in the Phoenix area. Most are spring training facilities.
Agent Scott Boras told the Associated Press he thinks players would be largely supportive of the plan.
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale discussed his Tommy John surgery that took place in late March and also a desire to see baseball sometime this spring or summer.
“I think they’ll find a way that’s safe and will please the masses. Whatever that is, I don’t know,” Sale said. “Thankfully I’m not the one that has to figure all that out. We have all the right people in all the right spots to figure out the best way to do this. I’m as interested as anybody to see how all this shakes out.”