MLB Considering A Spring Training Return

By Ben Hamill - May 26 2020

MLB Considering A Spring Training Return

Major League Basketball is feverishly trying to suss out ways in which the 2020 season can take place given bans on air travel and large gatherings. One idea that seems to be sticking somewhat more effectively than most others is the idea of playing in spring training stadiums devoid of spectators. The idea, according to those in the know with inner-circle MLB decisionmakers, is to commence play either in Florida or Arizona.

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The logistics behind it all remain somewhat of a nightmarish reality, especially since everything constantly remains mostly up in the air, with the current global health crisis being no respecter of plan or human schedule. Even if spring training were to go ahead in this manner, much remains to be figured out regarding keeping players and coaches and other support staff members safe and free from infection. And this goes for on as well as off the field. Playing in a single city and with no crowds present seems a perfectly reasonable solution but the fact of the matter is that it will only require a single case of confirmed infection to make the entire cart topple over yet again.  

The Health/Money Balance

A couple of proposals have been put to table by MLB owners and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) respectively, with both actively investigating every possible avenue in order to secure the best possible return. One of the two proposals has its focus on mainly the health aspects associated with a tempered and mitigated return, with the other centred around how to best survive and hopefully even overcome the current economic difficulties experienced by the league.

Details of the latter, being the economic proposal, have not yet been made public. What is known at this stage is that players aren’t happy to weather any further salary cuts, even though owners appear to be insisting on exactly that. Players are however not buying into claims made by MLB owners regarding their suffering greater financial losses than the players themselves.

Players Unhappy About Showers

A great deal more is known regarding the content of the health-related proposal. The 67-page proposal investigates the possibility of players being tested on a regular and frequent time-schedule. A ban on making use of showers and equipment used for player-hydrotherapy is also suggested as a consideration that must be carefully approached. Players, surprisingly, did not at all respond favourably to the majority of the proposals, rejecting everything from not being able to enjoy a post-game shower to the idea of mandatory frequent testing.

It will now be up to the union to act as middleman between owners and players and formulate a counter-proposal acceptable to all involved, including of course public health administration officials.

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