Major League Baseball Considering Starting Season in Arizona During Coronavirus
Major League Baseball is considering starting its regular season exclusively in the state of Arizona, with teams utilizing spring training facilities and the Arizona Diamondbacks Chase Field to play regular season games without fans present.
League officials and representatives of the MLB’s players union were reported to be in talks about the unprecedented proposal on Monday. The season was suspended in early March as the severity of the coronavirus epidemic became apparent, following in the wake of the NBA and the NHL.
Arizona has ten spring training facilities within fifty miles, all situated within the Phoenix metro area. Florida, the other state that hosts spring training facilities, has them spread over an area of 220 miles. Arizona’s warm and dry climate is also resilient to the spread of infectious diseases, and Americans have come to the state to improve their health for decades.
However, the proposal would entail games being played in empty stadiums without fans. Spring training facilities would be used, and the proposal would purportedly involve the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field hosting daily tripleheaders.
Longtime player agent Scott Boras endorsed the proposal when speaking with Fox News, arguing that the presence of Major League Baseball would provide a form of entertainment for Americans distressed by the historically unprecedented Chinese coronavirus.
“It allows for the immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” said Boras of the idea. “You talk to a psychologist about it and they say it’s it’s really good for a culture to have to have sport and to have a focus like that, where for a few hours a day they can take their minds off the difficult reality of the virus.”
In any case, there’s no chance of the season beginning in any capacity before mid-May at the earliest. But if the proposal is utilized, the MLB could be the first major American sporting league to resume operations in the wake of the coronavirus.