With the spread of the new coronavirus threatening Major League Baseball’s 2020 season, the league and the union continue to look for ways to save the year as best they can. This was to be expected, which resulted in a number of proposals and contingency plans, including those which would see teams either all isolated in Arizona, or split between Arizona and Florida.
Several league sources on Monday informed CBS Sports of a different idea that has been discussed in recent days. In this arrangement, the league would have teams stationed in one of three hubs: Florida, Arizona or Texas. The clubs would then use the local facilities of the major and minor leagues (or spring training).
One source even expressed cautious optimism about the chances of the idea coming to fruition.
The ball parks of Saint Petersburg (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona) and Arlington (Texas) each have roofs, retractable or not, which protect against rain and other extreme weather conditions, allowing several games to be hosted on these sites daily. Theoretically, the MLB could also ask teams stationed in Florida and Texas to drive more than three hours in other MLB parks (Minute Maid Park in Houston and Marlins Park in Miami).
It is unclear whether the MLB would assign 10 teams to each metropolitan area, or whether it would opt for an unbalanced approach that would see 12 teams in one area and eight in another.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about his attempts to bring professional sport back to the state in the middle of the pandemic, including NASCAR.
Any disclosed proposal, including this one, should be taken with a grain of salt. MLB is expected to reach agreement with the union on other logistical issues. For example, Los Angeles outfielder Angels Mike Trout and Los Angeles pitcher Dodgers Clayton Kershaw each pushed back the idea of spending months in isolation far from their families.
Still, it is safe to expect that MLB will continue to look for ways to have some sort of 2020 season due to the substantial amounts of television revenue that could be lost with a year wiped out.
Commissioner Rob Manfred alluded to it last week.
“From our perspective, we don’t have a plan, we have a lot of ideas,” he told Fox Business. “The ideas that materialize depend on the restrictions, the public health situation, but we intend to make baseball part of the economic recovery and some sort of milestone on the way back to normal. “