Originally beginning on March 26, Major League Baseball had to postpone their season just like the rest of the sporting world, but MLB may return next month.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) are discussing ways to continue the regular season as it continues to be delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although CDC could step in to shut the process down, the league has the support of a high-ranking federal health official. Wanting to move the process as quickly as possible the major league could be returning mid-May.
There will be many changes to the game. The league would have to play on neutral venues in Phoenix and surrounding areas, as opposed to their home ballparks. Games will be shortened going from nine to seven innings – featuring doubleheaders.
With these changes occurring to the game, the MLB would have to consider CDC regulations for social distancing. The league will not permit visits from the catcher or pitching coach during these games and the umpire behind home plate would be replaced with an implementation of an electronic strike zone for the health and safety of the players.
Considering CDCs regulations and changes to the game players will no longer be tightly packed in the dugouts instead, they would be spread out and will continue to practice social distancing.
“MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so,” the MLB statement said. “While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association.”
Players, coaching staff and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation and travel only to and from the stadium.
According to ESPN, MLB will be allowed to carry out all the testing required without eating into the supplies reserved for the general public. The health and safety protocol, which would also cover lodging, security, and transportation among other things, could be tested during a shortened training camp, which is expected to last between two and three weeks.