Arizona governor Doug Ducey has come out in support of MLB’s potential plan of playing this season primarily in empty spring training ballparks in his state at the time public health concerns authorize.
MLB and the players’ association have discussed starting this campaign with all 30 major league teams based in the Phoenix area, where there are 10 spring training parks plus the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field, which has a retractable roof, and several college facilities.
The plan would be contingent upon receiving the go-ahead from federal, state and local governments.
“Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state,” Ducey stated on Tuesday.
“At the time it would be appropriate for public health, if Arizona were in a position to reopen, we have the facilities that are here.”
MLB also said Tuesday it is cutting the salary of senior staff by an average of 35% for this year due to the new coronavirus’ impact on the season.
MLB is guaranteeing paychecks to its full-time employees of its central office through May.
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With no clarity on when the shutdown will end, players and staff intently follow the daily developments.
Ducey said he has spoken with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred about the all-Arizona option.
“There’s a number of different scenarios,” Ducey said. “I think the first scenario that was talked about was the idea of these clubs coming, being in hotels and in a way, having their own stay-at-home orders whether it either be at the hotel, or inside the stadium, without fans. It’s something that Arizona is open minded to, and I’m open-minded to.”
Many players and staff are worried about the potential of a long absence from family while sequestered.
Minnesota catcher Mitch Garver wondered how the plan would work,
“Where do we live? Who’s allowed to come with us? Are we only allowed to go to the field and back to the hotel? What kind of hotel? What kind of accommodations are we working with? Is there going to be meal money?” he said. “Then you get into player health, and we’re talking about playing in 120 degree weather on spring training fields potentially living out of a visiting locker room.”
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