There are plenty of hurdles to get over in order for Major League Baseball to return this year. A lot of those revolve around the continuing battle over money between the owners and the players, some of it involves how to make it safest for everyone involved, and some of it seemingly been out of the hands of the owners and players – relying on the cities and states in which they play to approve them holding an event, even without fans.
How soon, and which states would allow sporting events has been a big question. Both NASCAR and UFC are already holding events, without fans, on the east coast. The UFC has been having events in Florida over the last two weeks, while NASCAR has had events in South Carolina and will have several more in North Carolina and Tennessee before the month is over. But not every state was ready to open up for sporting events.
That’s been changing this week, though. California, New York, and Texas have joined in on the “let’s play sports here, but with some restrictions” list. Major League Baseball said they had contingency plans for if some teams weren’t able to begin their seasons at their home ballparks, and while they were never specific, the assumption was it would be their spring training complex as both Arizona and Florida were already on board.
There are still states out there who haven’t made any proclamation of whether or not they will follow suit, it seems likely that they will until there’s a reason not to (such as a city/state seeing a big spike in COVID-19 cases). If you were looking for some good news in the “maybe they will play baseball this year” world, this is probably it. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, though – but we’ll have more on that tomorrow morning as more and more questions pile up over money and safety.
This will be one of many variables that will need to be monitored:
Not nearly the issue for MLB as for NHL. Basically 20% of the NHL is Canadian based teams. Then there are Buffalo and Detroit on the US side which could have issues getting personnel, players and support/ production people across, not to mention fans if one side opens to fans in attendance while the border stays closed
I watched a couple Bundesliga games this past weekend and some of the NASCAR race and it was great to have sports back. The empty stadium was odd the first couple minutes of the soccer game but I quickly got used to it and you get the rare chance to hear how much the players actually are communicating (though I couldn’t really make out what they were saying). I actually think a completely empty GABP will be less off putting then the extremely small crowds that are sometimes there in the early season week night games. Anyway, it was great to get that taste back and you could tell the players had their hearts in it (albeit not in mid season form). Hope MLB and MLS can get the details worked out soon!