Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area this season and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed Monday during a call among five top officials from MLB and the players’ association that was led by Commissioner Rob Manfred, people familiar with the discussion told The Associated Press.
With its season delayed due to the new coronavirus, both sides are searching for ways to get under way. Kansas City manager Mike Matheny would feel privileged to help the country return to a semblance of normalcy and provide an escape for fans.
Matheny said quote - “Just jump in and trust that we may not know when we’ll reconnect with our families, and trust that when health officials decide it’s OK we’ll be able to do that. But in the meantime, do something that would really help the healing process.”
Baseball officials intend to study which options may be viable economically and would gain necessary approvals. The league said it has not yet sought approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or from the players’ association.
Arizona has 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field all within about 50 miles. Phoenix Municipal Stadium — Oakland’s old spring training base and now Arizona State’s stadium — is an option along with Grand Canyon’s Brazell Field.
Chase Field could host several games each day following its switch to an artificial surface ahead of the 2019 season.
Baseball’s look would be different in empty ballparks. Players from the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox still recall playing in a deserted Camden Yards in 2015 when civil unrest caused a closed-doors game. The game sped along in 2 hours, 3 minutes.