By Aaron Eshelman, Staff Writer
Like all professional sports leagues in America and most around the world, the Major League Baseball season has gone by the wayside, at least temporarily, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
However there is a plan being considered that would possibly allow for the baseball season to start as early as mid-May.
According to cbssports.com, the plan MLB and the MLB players association are exploring would have all games played in the Phoenix area. This would allow for the use of Chase Field home of the Arizona Diamondbacks as well as the multitude of spring training facilities in the area.
Under this plan, no fans would be able to attend the games, however TV broadcasts would be available. Players, umpires, and other essential staff would live in hotels in the area. Social distancing recommendations would be adhered to as much as possible, even during games.
The idea is that this plan would continue either until the completion of the season or until baseball is able to return to normal. Another possibility is that games would expand gradually to more and more cities as the virus is contained.
The plan is not without issues, as players and personnel would have to be away from their families for possibly months on end. Also some coaches and umpires are older and are therefore more at risk for the virus.
In an article for ESPN.com, an anonymous American League pitcher said “Honestly, my reaction would be I'm not OK with being separated from my family in the middle of a pandemic. Now if it was, 'Hey, guys will be separated for a few weeks,' then OK. But four months is rough."
But there is still plenty of incentive for the league to get things going as soon as possible. Fans all over the world are clamoring to get sports back and this is an opportunity for the MLB to be the only show in town. For a league that has seen TV ratings drop in recent years and has lost its position as the most popular sport in America, this could expose the game to millions who wouldn’t otherwise tune in.
This plan still has many kinks that need to be ironed out before it is really feasible. But I think I speak for baseball and sports fans everywhere when I say I hope the MLB and the MLBPA can work something out sooner rather than later.