(WJZ)- The coronavirus pandemic has left sports fans desperate for some good news about the potential return of any sports action. It appeared that Orioles and MLB fans at large got just that this morning with ESPN’s report that Major League Baseball was eyeing a May return with all teams playing in Arizona as an option.
The report detailed a plan from the league that would have all 30 teams play games at stadiums in the Phoenix area with no fans in the stands. In the discussed plan, “players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels” basically remaining in isolation and traveling only to and from stadiums.
The report induced plenty of chatter from around the baseball world, but the league has since released a statement pushing back. In the release, the league says it has considered many options including staging games at one location, but it is not ready to endorse any particular plan at this time. The full statement:
“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. 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. The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.”
So, it would seem that the league is not as close to making a decision on a comeback as the report initially indicated, though Passan did say that some officials believe a June Opening Day could be more realistic.
Either way, the league is looking at a significantly shortened season which, in the long run, may not be a bad thing for an Orioles team that was looking at another rebuilding season. With fewer games, the randomness of small samples sizes can play a bigger factor. If a couple of O’s players get hot at the right time, over a smaller sample, they might just be able to make a little noise.