Jeff Passan from ESPN posted an article late last night that details a plan by Major League Baseball and the players to get games started back up as early as late May. Passan notes that the plan “has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic”.
There is a lot to discuss still between the sides and everyone involved. This is in the early stages right now and one of many contingency plans being discussed according to Passan. I’ll let the article tell the entire story, and it comes with the obvious caveats, but I’ll note some key points of the plan here:
** All 30 teams would play games in the greater Phoenix area and no fans would be allowed. I assume that the second part includes the asterisk that fans could start going to games once that is deemed safe. MLB is working with federal public health officials, so you can assume they will follow their guidelines through the entire process, including fans coming back to games.
** Everyone involved in the games will be limited in their travel to baseball only activities, going to and from secure locations to the ballparks and back. That’s probably a safer plan for the players now than having them all spread around, though the bigger concern are the older coaches, umpires, etc and not the low-risk athletes.
**They at least want to wait until early May before starting training back up because the tests for the coronavirus will be more readily available and they will have quicker turnaround times. The availability issue is big because MLB does not want to interfere with the ability of the general public to get tested. They have been told that early May is the likely date for that to first be a feasible plan.
** If they’re able to get an earlier start date, they could come close to a full schedule by playing doubleheaders more often, with seven inning games like they do in the minors. There are also some distancing rules mentioned in the article, but they don’t need a timeline of events to happen first. Expanded rosters have also been discussed to help the players get through the doubleheaders and hotter temperatures in Phoenix during the summer.