Play all baseball games in empty Arizona stadiums?
Major baseball and the Players’ Association discussed Monday an idea where the 30 teams would be based in the Phoenix area, to play in empty stadiums.
The parties held a telephone call to discuss the path forward, as the season is delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
All of this was reported to the Associated Press by people familiar with the matter.
They spoke on condition of anonymity, as no details were announced.
The ideas are still at an early stage and the Arizona option would have many obstacles to overcome, the sources said.
Half of the clubs have their training camps in Arizona, the other half in Florida.
The advantage of Arizona is to find 10 fields linked to the camps and Chase Field, within a radius of 80 km. In Florida, the land is spread over 350 km.
“It allows for a high turnover of games and they could be televised,” said Scott Boras, the most distinguished agent in baseball.
“I think the players are ready to do what is necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their livelihood and for the benefit of people, by providing a necessary product within a framework of isolation.
“It gives a feeling of return to a certain normalcy,” added Boras. You talk to a psychologist and they say it’s really good to have such an avenue where, for a few hours a day, they can put aside the difficult reality of the virus. ”
The season was scheduled to start on March 26, but camps were suspended on March 12.
After the Centers for Disease Control recommended limiting events to more than 50 people for eight weeks, the major leagues said the season would not start until mid-May at the earliest.
“Very limited access to the outside world”
The Players’ Association would like to probe its members about the Arizona idea, a source said.
“You will be largely separated from your families and you will have to function in a very contained way. It’s not a normal life, this idea, ”said Boras.
“You are going to have a group of people identified. You are going to have a group of people constantly tested.
“And you’re going to have very limited access to the outside world so you can ensure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to provide an inspirational product.”
Chase Field, with artificial grass and a retractable roof, could be the site of the triple program on a daily basis, said Boras.
This plan would start the season while waiting for health and government officials to determine if it is safe to resume play in the usual stadiums, with the resulting travel.