PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Major League Baseball and its players are narrowing in on a plan that could allow them to start the 2020 season as early as May, sources told ESPN. The plan reportedly has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic.
NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter.
Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: https://t.co/zDoNa3k4pm
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
The plan would have all 30 teams play games at stadiums in the Phoenix area, 10 spring training facilities and possibly other nearby fields. There would be no fans.
ESPN reports players, coaching staffs and other “essential personnel” would be placed in local hotels where they would ideally live in relative isolation and travel back and forth from the stadium.
Sources tell ESPN other possibilities include implementing electronic strike zones so the plate umpire could maintain distance from the catcher and batter, using on-field microphones and sitting in empty stands 6 feet apart instead of in the dugout.
While the plan brings some challenges, sources said the league and union are motivated to make the plan work because the alternative would be not playing baseball in 2020.