Absolutely no clue if this can realistically happen, but according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB is now working towards a plan that would bring baseball back as early as May. If everything goes to plan, we could see Opening Day in June.
Here’s the meat of Passan’s story.
Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.
Federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National Institute of Health have been supportive of a plan that would adhere to strict isolation, promote social distancing and allow MLB to become the first professional sport to return.
This new plan would have all 30 MLB teams play their games in Arizona to begin the season. No timetable for how long that would last. There are 10 spring training ballparks in the Phoenix area plus Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks play. Everyone, from the players to coaches, anyone who’s going to be around the games will be required to stay in hotels to continue some sort of isolation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most important part, though, is that the league obviously has to test all these people and it’s already been a struggle to get tests for people who need them the most. So yeah, there has to be a lot better access to these tests before MLB or any other league gets a hold of them before the rest of the population.
Passan goes on to say that the most realistic timeline could have teams arrive in Arizona in mid-May and then there would be a 2-3 week version of spring training with a June Opening Day.
Hey, it’s something to be hopeful for. I’ll stay cautiously optimistic about this scenario, but things are definitely picking up steam.
As consequential and potentially tricky as some of the challenges might be, sources said the league and union are motivated to make the plan work because they realize the alternative might be worse for both sides: no baseball at all in 2020.