The Miami Marlins could be playing baseball as early as the first week of July, according to a potential proposal to have players begin preparing for the 2020 season.
It appears the light at the end of the tunnel is a bit brighter as a “return-to-play” proposal will be offered to the MLB Players Association with a week, which could signal a return to work for the Miami Marlins and the other 29 franchises.
Excuse me while I jump for joy before continuing to write this piece.
"According to Jeff Passan of ESPN.com, “Although a significant number of hurdles remain and some industry leaders believe June and July return dates are overly optimistic, ownership’s approval of a plan and dialogue about specifics with the union would mark two vital steps toward baseball’s return from a season so far delayed six weeks by the coronavirus pandemic.”"
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The Marlins, along with the rest of MLB shutdown Spring Training operations March 13 after the threat of the Coronavirus affected the sports world. The league office, in conjunction with all 30 teams, made this decision to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport, including fans who attended games in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. There have not been any baseball activities of any kind since the shutdown.
There have been several proposals for the return of the game, which could include realignment, changes in how the games are played, a shortened season, and possible changes in venues where baseball games will be held.
The idea that baseball could be back and the Marlins could be practicing with a target date to play games that matter is something everyone can smile about, as long as the safety of the players and organizations are protected for this to happen.
"“General managers and managers from at least a dozen teams have reached out to players to suggest that they ramp up baseball activities, those familiar with the conversations — including executives, players, and agents — told ESPN,” Passan writes."
“Some teams have suggested that players prepare for a spring training that could begin as early as June 10 and a season that could begin July 1, dates first suggested publicly by former player Trevor Plouffe.”
There is still plenty of work to be done to coordinate a start date with games played. All scenarios of games played under different proposals come with the notion baseball stadiums will be without fans in the stands as states are still making the decision whether to open their cities for business. Some states remain “closed” while others have already begun opening small businesses and lessening quarantine restrictions.
It will not be an easy process, so taking the time to make sure every potential obstacle is fixed is still something MLB and teams will have to confront. That is why setting a return date is still being worked out.
"“Other teams, sources said, are being more general in their timetables, understanding the complications that hard dates can cause and wanting instead to nudge players toward being in game shape,” Passan added."
According to several sources, there have been proposals of playing games in Arizona, where all 30 teams will play at Spring Training sites and Chase Field. Another idea would be for teams to remain at their Spring Training sites and play games in both Arizona and Florida. There is also a plan of three 10-team divisions with a potential expanded playoff format.