Now that the spread of COVID-19 is affecting MLB Spring Training facilities, will the Miami Marlins and other teams use their home parks to train?
MLB players might want to stop asking “When and Where” and concentrate more on “When and If” in regards to the 2020 baseball season. The Miami Marlins remain in a holding pattern, waiting to get back on the field as preparation for Opening Day has yet to be determined.
With the news of COVID-19 affecting both the Philadelphia and the Toronto Blue Jays in Florida and the San Francisco Giants in Arizona, it has been determined that teams will train at home stadiums per CBS Sports, Bob Nightengale, and other sources.
The decision to play baseball this season is still undecided and with the recent events, regardless of whether both MLB and the MLBPA can agree on a set number of games, baseball’s beginning remains in peril for the moment.
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“Although MLB and the MLBPA have not yet reached a return to play agreement, the 30 clubs have decided to shift their spring training camps to their major league ballparks in their home cities, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale,” Mike Axisa writes. “Clubs have the option to hold training camp in their home city or at their spring training site.”
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases in both Arizona and Florida are a concern for MLB and its players. There is no word how the Diamondbacks, Marlins or Rays will approach their return to ballpark yet. When the discussion of baseball’s return started, it was believed either state could be the center of all 30 MLB teams using facilities within the Spring Training corridor so there could be a shortened season.
Now, extra precautions may be needed to have at the very least a 60-game schedule completed.
“All 30 teams hold spring training in Arizona and Florida, two states that have experienced significant spikes in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Arizona reported a record 3,246 new cases Friday and Florida reported 4,049 new cases Saturday, a new record. COVID-19 cases are on the rise generally in the south and southwest,” Axisa explains.
The team most affected by the decision to use home field facilities for training camp might be the Blue Jays because the Canadian government has a 14-day mandatory quarantine for international travelers.
The difference in teams using their spring training facilities, as the Marlins would use in Jupiter, Florida, could also become a problem because of space constraints.
“Spring training complexes have multiple fields and multiple clubhouses, allowing for easy social distancing. That is not the case at major league stadiums,” Axisa adds. “All players must share one field — teams are expected to have 30-man active rosters and a 20-man taxi squad in 2020 — and clubhouse space is more limited. Even with staggered workouts, space can be an issue.”
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