Major League Baseball is currently fielding all ideas to ensure baseball happens this year. At least one possible solution involves leaving all 30 stadiums empty in 2020.
According to the Associated Press, the MLB Players' Association has floated the idea of relocating all 30 teams to Phoenix, Ariz., and playing the entire season in empty ballparks there.
Discussions are still in the early stages and there are reportedly many obstacles inherent in the Phoenix idea. Currently, half of MLB clubs hold their spring training in Phoenix, while the other half are in Florida.
Arizona has 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field. All locations are within 50 miles of one another.
“It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” noted MLB agent Scott Boras told the AP. “I think players are willing to do what’s necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.”
Boras said he thinks the return of baseball would give fans a sense of normalcy in abnormal times.
“You talk to a psychologist about it and they say it’s really good for a culture to have sport and to have a focus like that,” Broas said, “where for a few hours a day they can take their minds off the difficult reality of the virus.”
The players’ association would likely want to survey its members to see if there was support to proceed with such a plan.
“You’re going to be largely separated from your families and you’re going to have to function in a very contained way. It’s not a normal life, this idea,” Boras said. “You’re going to have an identified group of people. You’re going to have a constantly tested group of people. And you’re going to have a very limited access of those people to the outside world so that you can assure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to produce a product that is inspirational to our country.”
The MLB isn't the only league looking at making drastic changes in order to restart action. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported Friday that the NBA has discussed to playing the remaining games of the 2019-20 season in Las Vegas, while Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Sunday that the NHL has discussed moving all games to North Dakota.
UFC president Dana White says he's considering a more drastic move, telling TMZ Sports on Monday that he's "a day or two away from securing a private island. I won't be able to get international fighters, all of them, into the U.S., so I have a private island; I'm going to start flying them all into the private island and doing international fights from there."