The MLB hasn’t struck out on their season yet. The latest proposal could have the Boston Red Sox being divisional rivals with the Atlanta Braves. The entire sports community has taken a halt due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the MLB is no exception. On March 12, Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of spring training and postponed the start of the season indefinitely. However, MLB is still trying to rectify the plans for its season and has come up with two proposals to resume the season sometime this summer. MLB is now considering a drastic plan to eliminate the traditional American and National Leagues, and readjust all six divisions for a condensed season.
One plan would have all 30 teams returning to their spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, playing regular season games only in those two states and without fans. Divisions would be realigned based on geography of their spring training homes. Even with the realignment, the teams could still play 12 games apiece against their divisional opponents.
Tony La Russa, Hall of Fame manager and the Angels’ senior adviser of baseball operations, is in favor of the MLB “getting creative” with their solution to bring baseball back sooner rather than later. La Russa stated that he would not have any problem with having a “unique” season.
Another plan proposes having the entire season in Arizona. Similar to the Florida and Arizona plan, the 30 teams would play all of their games, without fans, in Arizona at Chase Field and multiple training sites. Mets player Pete Alonso has already offered his support for the notion to play the season in Arizona. “In Arizona, for you guys who aren’t necessarily familiar with it, every team is within 45 minutes of each other. The complexes there are absolutely supreme. Because it’s nice, high altitude, and thin desert air, the ball flies a little bit better,” Alonso said. “Arizona, especially in that Phoenix area, is very conducive to baseball.”
After the MLB had a conference call with President Donald Trump, the MLB put out a statement that said in part that the “MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so.” With no fans in the stands and erasing the need for air travel, this plan could limit the potential for exposure to the coronavirus.
The MLB is still open to discussing different options and has not settled on one developed or detailed plan. Although the MLB has worked in conjunction with governmental and public health officials, they have not yet “sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association.” Liability considerations, contractual obligations and other legal issues will play a pivotal role in the ultimate decision as to whether and when to resume play.