ESPN's Jeff Passan dropped a news bomb on the baseball world late on Monday, reporting that the league is considering a plan that involves the 2020 season taking place in the Phoenix area and starting as early as May.
Major League Baseball responded Tuesday morning with a statement that acknowledged the league is “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.”
However, the statement also said that while playing games at one location has been discussed, the league has “not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.”
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On Tuesday’s ESPN Daily podcast with Mina Kimes, Passan said the plan has a “high degree of difficulty.” But the desire to play in 2020 exists from both players and the league.
“What you are going to have, I think, is players who are motivated to get paid and a league that is motivated not to lose a season,” Passan said. “When you have both of those things working together, all of the logistics can get figured out. That’s just a matter of time. Whether it’s May like they’re hoping for, or June, like, might be more realistic, I think they’re going to do everything they can because they know if this does not work, then the backup alternative is probably no season in 2020.”
The logistics of the idea and the potential pitfalls are numerous.
“We can go on and on and on about the number of people who have to abide by this plan to make it work. And the discipline that that would take is so extraordinary that I think a seamless summer in which games are played and a player doesn’t contract coronavirus or someone involved doesn’t contract coronavirus is really unlikely,” Passan said. “The question at that point is what will happen if something like that takes place, and will they be in a position to continue playing? And I think the answer that baseball has by undertaking this plan is yes, we would continue through that because we hope that what we have in place in terms of testing will prevent the spread if somebody does come into the biosphere with coronavirus.”
While the league said it has not settled on how to play the 2020 season, the reported word of a possible return as soon as May or June is the first news of a major American sports league considering a return since the sports world halted in March.
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