Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.
Though the plan has a number of potential stumbling blocks, it has emerged above other options as the likeliest to work and has been embraced by MLB and MLB Players Association leadership, who are buoyed by the possibility of baseball's return and the backing of federal officials, sources said.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT BALLS!!!! Jeff Passan just gave me life. My heart is beating a thousand miles a minute. I just smiled for the first time in months. I think maybe even a hair or two grew back on my head (okay just kidding). But holy shit Major League Baseball has a plan in place to become the first sport to return to our world. Even better, this isn't just some fairy dust idea thrown into the air. Nope, it's backed by high ranking federal public health officials who believe this can actually work.
The plan that's been rumored for the last week or so will have everyone in Arizona where the Cactus League usually conducts their spring training. There are 10 spring training facilities nearby that can have games played on site along with other fields as well. The players, coaches, and other staff members would be completely isolated in this area at local hotels. Their life would strictly just be baseball for the coming months. They'd be away from their families for four to five months and just be focused on baseball. That to me is the toughest part of all of this. Going to be an incredibly hard ask to get these players away from their families during a global pandemic. They way it'd work is you go play your games and then you come back to the hotel. That's it. Absolutely nuts, but let's fucking do it. America needs this.
Now here are some of the crazy things being talked about to allow everyone to be as safe as possible. Who knows if all of these things will happen, but they're on the table and will be voted on in the coming days/weeks.
Implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the home-plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter
We were probably years from an electronic strike zone, but hey circumstances dictate what's got to happen. For the umpires to be safe this would have to be in play it looks like. I imagine this will be an utter shit show given the results it's had in the Atlantic League where it's been tested out.
No mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach
Rob Manfred just came at the thought of a quicker game with zero mound visits.
Seven-inning doubleheaders, which, with an earlier-than-expected start date, could allow baseball to come closer to a full 162-game season
7 inning double headers are already conducted in the minors and have been in discussion for this bat shit of a season already. I don't know what to think of them, but it seems like the players are on board so I'm on board. Seems like this would be wildly advantageous for the Yankees and their super bullpen.
Regular use of on-field microphones by players, as an added bonus for TV viewers
MIC'D UP PLAYERS LETS GO!!!!!
Sitting in the empty stands 6 feet apart - the recommended social-distancing space - instead of in a dugout
No dugouts, but instead players are sitting in the bleachers six feet away from each other. I'm trying to imagine that visual and I just can't. What in the hell is that going to look like?
You don't like some of the ideas to make the sport safe? Tough shit. It's what we've got. Make it work however you can. I cannot keep living like this. I need live baseball on my television and I don't care how I get it.
TLDR: So basically Major League Baseball is going ahead with this bubble idea where everyone just eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball in Arizona. It's target is to start up in May, at least for teams to arrive in camp. It'll probably start in June if all goes to plan. Bottom line, baseball has hope for a season. Hope I never saw coming realistically. I will not be able to sleep now. Stay safe. Wash your hands.
This is very important because even though we need sports back in our lives it's critical we get the amount of tests for the general public. If players are getting tested just to get tested while others who are legit sick aren't that's a problem. This Woj tweet clears that up a bit. Woj and Passan joining forces is like the Avengers coming together.