We’re a week-and-a-half into the scheduled Major League Baseball season and there’s no beginning in sight. But, as the Premier League in the United Kingdom has apparently come to a tentative deal to play games behind closed doors with potential free-to-air broadcasting rights, MLB has been mulling over the possibility of playing regular-season games at spring training locations.
The plan for the Premier League would be for players and team officials to all come together in neutral locations, similar to the World Cup. Everybody would be quarantined in hotels and play the remainder of the league’s schedule (92 matches) over the span of a couple of months, creating a massive, daily TV spectacle.
It is this aspect that has drawn increased government backing, too, as they like the idea of the population engrossed in the national sport, especially in the event that lockdown measures are tightened or extended.
In order to complete the plan, clubs and their staffs would be confined to separate hotels away from their families, just like in an international tournament – albeit with full testing and quarantine conditions. The aim is to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 as even one case could derail the whole plan. – The Independent
There are obviously a lot of logistical issues here. Beyond just stuffing players into quarantines away from their lives and families, there would have to be hoards of staff (camera crews, medical, food services, to name a few) also placed somewhere. And, of course, if any of those people involved were to contract the virus, the whole plan would go up in flames.
Ultimately, the logic here is that sports, while trivial in the grand scheme of life, offer us a distraction to help navigate through difficult times. There were sports on during WWII and just days after 9/11. As time goes along and people become more and more restless and anxious with the lockdown, a distraction would certainly help raise spirits.
Shifting to baseball, according to Ken Rosenthal over at The Athletic, MLB has been pondering the feasibility of doing something similar with the league’s spring training facilities in Arizona or Florida.
The reality is we’re nowhere near being able to allow thousands of people roll into a stadium to watch a baseball game, so playing baseball without anybody watching is realistically the alternative to no baseball at all. Again, the logistics are insanely difficult to execute, but the league is obviously going to explore every possible avenue to get rolling.
Elsewhere, Blue Jays From Away noticed that the Blue Jays released a handful of minor-league players in March. Baseball America keeps track of minor-league transactions on a month-by-month basis, and it appears the Jays let go of Roemon Fields, William Ouellette, Matt Shannon, Joey Pulido, Josh Hiatt, Andy McGuire, Grayson Huffman, Brett Wright, Alexis Carmona, and Matt Jones.
The highest level player on the list is Roemon Fields, who spent the 2019 season with the Buffalo Bisons. He’s an undrafted free agent who signed with the organization back in 2014 and just turned 29 in November. Otherwise, the list is filled with late-round draft picks and guys who have struggled with injuries. You can head over to that Blue Jays From Away post to read more detail about each player if you’re interested.
— Jason Lee (@Jasons_JaysHub) April 4, 2020
Finally, we have this gem of a photo. While Hyun-Jin Ryu and his wife are trapped in Florida, the couple are staying with an old pal, Russell Martin. Martin, of course, was Ryu’s teammate last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and as Cole Shelton pointed out, the two created magic together when forming a battery.
Martin is currently a free agent and he’s one of those guys who we never see play again if the 2020 season is wiped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.