The Arizona Plan might just work, but it also has quite a bit of obstacles. So what needs to happen in order for this wild idea to come to fruition for MLB?
Well, no one said getting MLB back was gonna be easy.
Last week, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that MLB is “focussed” on a plan to play out the season in Arizona and the facilities within, including the D-Backs’ Chase Field.
To sum it up, the teams would play in empty stadiums and be docked in hotels away from the ballparks. According to Passan, MLB and the players association are all for the plan, both of which are “buoyed by the possibility of baseball’s return.” The plan is even backed by “high-ranking federal public health officials,” too, according to Passan. Sounds good to me.
While this plan still has plenty of obstacles and questions (like where the postseason/remainder of the season would be held if the spread of COVID-19 slows down significantly over the summer), it might just be crazy enough to work. Here’s what needs to happen in order for this proposed idea to come to fruition in 2020.
MLB players need to be in on the plan
There’s plenty of players who miss baseball. Matter of fact, I’m sure every player misses baseball. With that said, some aren’t ready to sacrifice months away from family to play on a diamond, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them. For starters, Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw expressed his discontent with the concept of the Arizona Plan and being separated from his family for an unknown amount of time. Another big name in the baseball world to show disapproval of the plan is Phillies’ starter Zack Wheeler, who would likely miss the birth of his first child if the plan actually went through.
As I said, this is completely understandable for players to feel this way. Yes, players spend time away from their families all the time when they go on road trips across the country, but spending an indefinite amount of time away from home in one remote location probably just feels….. different, and the players know that.
Although many players seem to be in on this plan, it only takes a few big names to stand their ground if they’re not on board. That may just be enough to derail the entire plot.
Everyone Needs to Stay Healthy
This is a given, but it needs to be said: the players, coaches, owners, you name it, must remain in isolation and do everything and anything to steer clear of possibly catching COVID-19, which, as mentioned, is a massive obstacle in itself. Those who have organized the plan have taken this into consideration, too, as it includes multiple precautions to limit interaction between players and coaches. For one, the dugouts would not be used. Rather, the players would sit in empty stands far apart from each other to limit closeness and contact, per Passan.
As mentioned above and in Passan’s article, the players would be isolated in hotels away from the ballparks as well, so that will almost certainly limit any chance for any player potentially getting infected. If one player becomes at risk for developing the virus or even shows symptoms, it might significantly halt the progress of the MLB Arizona plan.
Those are just two of the issues, too. I’m sure we’ll see a multitude of other potential problems pop up between now and the next few weeks that might throw this whole idea down the tubes. Until then, however, we have a glimmer of hope that baseball might return in 2020, and sometimes, that’s all you need for things to work out.