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MLB analyzes playing all its games in Arizona

MLB analyzes playing all its games in Arizona

The Major League Baseball bureau and the players’ union are discussing the possibility of bringing all 30 teams to the Phoenix area to play in empty stadiums, people with knowledge of the matter tell The Associated Press.

The two sides held a phone conversation about options to start the season, the start of which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no details have been announced.

The ideas are still in a preliminary stage, and the Arizona option would have to overcome several hurdles, the people noted.

“MLB has been diligently considering numbers of contingency plans that would allow the games to get underway once the public health situation has improved to the point where it is safe to do so,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “While we have discussed the idea of ​​mounting games in one location as an option, we have not yet made a decision on that option or prepared a detailed plan.”

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The managers of the majors intend to examine the alternatives that would be viable.

“While we continue to have frequent contact with government and health authorities, we have not requested or received approval of any plan from federal, state or local officials, or the players’ union,” MLB said. “We are not in a position right now to support any particular format to play games in the face of the vertiginous changes in the health situation caused by the coronavirus.”

Half of the major league teams do their preseason in Arizona, the other half in Florida.

Arizona’s advantage is that it has 10 preseason stadiums and Chase Field for the Arizona Diamondbacks, all within a 50-mile radius. Facilities in Florida span distances of up to 350 kilometers (220 miles9.

“It allows for an immediacy of the schedule, where you can be able to start the season and televise it,” said Scott Boras, the top player representative. “I think the players are willing to do whatever it takes because I think they understand the importance of baseball in their life and the interest of our country, and to provide a necessary product that gives all these people some entertainment.”

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“It gives them the feeling of a certain return to normality,” added Boras. “If you talk about this with a psychologist they will say that it is a really good thing for a culture to have some sport and have something like that to focus on, where they can be distracted for a few hours a day during a time of difficulties due to the virus.”

The Major League Baseball season was scheduled to begin on March 26, but the preseason was called off on March 12. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended restricting concentrations of more than 50 people for 8 weeks, the MLB said it would not resume activities until at least mid-May.

Texas Rangers president of sports operations Jon Daniels said MLB is evaluating options and declined to speculate.

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“But obviously we’d love to find a way to play, as long as it’s safe, that would be our priority,” he said.

The players association would like to poll its members to determine if they would be in favor of that plan, one of the sources said.

“They are going to be separated from their families and to work in a very confined environment. This idea is not a normal life, ”Boras said. “You are going to have an identified group of people. You are going to have a group of people who are constantly analyzed. And those people are going to have very limited access to the outside world to make sure the league is not contaminated, in order to generate a product that inspires the country. “

Chase Field, with artificial grass and retractable roof, could host three games a day, ”said Boras. AP

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