The 2020 Major League Baseball season is already both on-hold and en-route to being one of the more memorable ones, should it actually ever take place. As COVID-19 continues to spread and disrupt every aspect of modern life, it’s becoming more and more evident that we’ll be lucky to see baseball of any sort this year, and both MLB and the MLBPA appear to be acknowledging that reality more by the day.
According to the AP, that includes a consideration of holding what season they can in the Phoenix, Arizona area given the preponderance of MLB facilities in the region.
AP sources: Major League Baseball, union discuss playing all games in Arizona as a possible way forward out of the pandemic. https://t.co/cLxlY4456w— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) April 7, 2020
With 10 MLB spring training facilities in the vicinity and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home at Chase Field, central Arizona certainly does offer the most wide-ranging source of the facilities needed to conduct MLB-caliber games should we ever get the all-clear to begin life again. Uberagent Scott Boras is even quoted in the above AP article as suggesting that “tripleheaders” could be played daily at Chase Field, if need be, while the other parks could obviously host multiple games daily, too.
None of this begins to address the issue of having fans in the stands, of course, and the presumption is that if and when that kind of ‘normal’ baseball becomes an option the season could be shifted back to good ol’ MLB cities, anyway.
Clearly this is just the latest step in what will be an ongoing series of negotiations amid the multi-billion dollar industry, and we’ll see countless half-steps forward and backward between now and the first pitch thrown, whenever that may be. There will need to be TV contract amendments, player contract amendments, and agreements between host sites that will require endless legalese before taking place. Add in some insurance talk and the need for a second ‘preseason’ to take place before every party involved is ready to roll, and we’re facing a very, very long road before ever witnessing a 2020 MLB game.
Still, it’s encouraging to see the two sides actively considering their options well in advance. There’s also the chance that if you pay close attention to the concepts discussed as these talks advance, you may well begin to see both sides play their hands a bit early, too, considering the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2021, and both sides will clearly be discussing their 2020 plans with that looming over them.
Baseball, or something similar - 2020.