MLB hopeful to start season

Potential for a June season opener

Major League Baseball could be coming back as soon as June and as late as July 2 of this year. 

On April 7, the MLB released a contingency plan for how they predicted the season would go in order to create the normal 100 game season. All the games would be played in the central location of Arizona where spring training normally occurs and the players would be limited to seeing each other. Of course, the games would occur with no fans. 

“MLB has been 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,” the league said in its statement according to the LA Times. “While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association.”

However, in recent talks, it seems that the MLB has shifted to a different plan in order to begin play. The MLB would ditch the normal divisions and replace it with a three-division plan with 10 teams; each team only playing with the teams in their division. This would limit the amount of travel that occurs as it is based all on geography. It would also limit the need for all the players to be isolated and still allow them to play in their home ballparks.  

“It’s also not known whether teams would have to open the season in Arizona, Florida and Texas for several weeks before everyone could return to their home stadiums. Yet, they could squeeze in 100 to 110 games, and perhaps even have several thousand fans in attendance before or during the playoffs,” USA Today writer Bob Nightengale said in his article.

Senior and varsity baseball player at Oak Park High School Ben Taneman said he is excited by the prospect of baseball continuing despite the pandemic. 

“I would love it! I’ve seen in the South Korean baseball league, they already started doing that and I would be all for it. It would be weird having to play cautious[ly because] of the new safety measures,” Taneman said. “I’ve actually been in contact with my summer ball coach and they’ve been still planning to play our games.”

Junior and varsity baseball player Elliott Fletch Rosen shared an opposing opinion. 

“There have been a lot of proposals in an attempt to allow games to continue, but due to the amount of team staff required for an MLB team, I believe it’s logistically impossible,” Fletcher said. “In addition to maintenance, playing in a stadium without fans alters the nature of the game and lowers the intensity — especially after a massive cheating scandal during the 2019 season.” 

However, the plan is still pending medical and health officials and ultimately, where COVID-19 stands in the fall. But, officials are optimistic about this plan.

“This is going to be a season,’’ one of the executives said, “like we’ve never seen.”