NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The spread of the coronavirus has paused all major sporting events for the foreseeable future, but there is some hope that one league may restart soon.
Reports on Tuesday stated that Major League Baseball is considering a plan that would have all 30 teams along gather in the Phoenix, Ariz. area to start the season in May. The plan would have players, coaches, and essential personnel isolated in local hotels and only traveling to and from the stadiums in the area, including Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported.
There are a couple of major stumbling blocks with this potential plan. First and foremost, the current limited number of coronavirus tests that have a quick turnaround time. The league doesn’t want to remove tests from access to the general public, but it would like to have tests available to be able to consistently monitor the players and club officials at the complexes.
Another area of concern is that this plan would force players to be away from their families for an extended period. With only players, coaches, and essential personnel allowed, players would go without seeing their families for however many months the shortened season would last.
Livingston spoke with WFAN host, podcaster and radio hall of famer Mike Francesa about the current lack of sports and why he thinks, despite MLB’s optimism, we may be in this for the long haul.
“Let’s say in a month or six weeks we go back to work little by little. Who’s gonna go sit in a stadium jammed in next to somebody and feel comfortable?” Francesa said. “I don’t think any of that is comfortable, until we have a drug that we know we can go get cured with.
“If we know that there is a drug or a therapeutic that works, I think we’re out of the woods. I think until then, I don’t know how things are going to come back. I think we’re in for a very long ordeal here from the sports standpoint,” he added.
Major League Baseball released a statement is response to the reports on Tuesday, stating that the league has not settled on any one specific option or developed a detailed plan.
“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. 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. The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.”
Francesa, for his part, believes that we as sports fans took a lot of things for granted before noting, who wouldn’t want to be at Yankees Stadium watching the Bronx Bombers take on the Red Sox tonight?
For now, that reality is a long way away. Even in the best-case scenario of the reported MLB plan being put in place, baseball likely wouldn’t return to the Bronx this year.