By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Major League Baseball may have found the framework of their best plan to start to 2020 season.
Working their way through a COVID-19 pandemic that’s delayed the start of their 2020 for a month and a half now, the league is reportedly set to submit their return-to-play proposal to the MLBPA within a week, according to multiple league insiders, including The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The return, which is hardly set in stone for obvious reasons, would seemingly center around a spring training restart in June, and with a potential July start to the season, as outlined by Passan.
“General managers and managers from at least a dozen teams have reached out to players to suggest that they ramp up baseball activities, those familiar with the conversations — including executives, players and agents — told ESPN,” Passan, who also talked about this during an appearance on ESPN’s KBO League broadcast last night, wrote. “Some teams have suggested that players prepare for a spring training that could begin as early as June 10 and a season that could begin July 1, dates first suggested publicly by former player Trevor Plouffe. Other teams, sources said, are being more general in their timetables, understanding the complications that hard dates can cause and wanting instead to nudge players toward being in game shape.”
And after talking about potentially playing out the season in Arizona due to its abundance of baseball facilities — or any other ‘hub city’ for that matter — sources told Passan that this proposal would include playing games in each team’s home city. Even without fans in the stands, the benefit of true home and away games is probably a major sticking point for many on the MLBPA side, as numerous players have been vocal about not wanting to be away from their homes and families for such an extended stretch.
There are significant hurdles in baseball’s way, of course, and perhaps none are greater than the approval the league will have to get not only from its owners and players, but the White House and top health officials as well. (Probably a bad time to mention that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become the leading voice on all things coronavirus, recently gave a rather bleak update on sports returning.)
But some of the other issues facing baseball, even under this proposal, include plans for if a player contracts the virus, how players will be paid, and what happens to those who choose not to play due to their own health concerns.
But a proposal is a start, and lord knows baseball needs one of those however possible.