The 2020 Major League Baseball season looks increasingly likely to be centrally located in Arizona with all matches played behind closed doors.
The new season Major League Baseball (MLB) season was due to commence on March 26 but has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
MLB organisers have been assessing their options to get the 2020 season underway, as the United States is gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been discussion around a shortened season, or regular double-headers, along with a post-season extending into November.
One proposal which is looking more and more likely is the ‘Arizona Plan’ whereby all 30 MLB clubs located in the south-western US state to play the season in one centralised location with no fans.
Arizona has less than 5,000 cases and approximately 170 deaths, which is a small proportion of USA’s almost 750,000 cases and 39,084 deaths.
The Arizona Diamondbacks play in Phoenix’s Chase Field, which has a capacity of almost 50,000 and a retractable roof, while there are numerous back fields around the venue which could host matches or trainings.
The idea is all 30 teams would be located in the state throughout the season in hotels, training and playing matches in the region.
The concept brings challenges, given players would need to be away from their families for the entirety of the season, while they’ve already accepted a pro-rated pay cut which may be further reduced with no revenue via ticket sales.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said: “Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state.
“At the time that it would be appropriate for public health, if Arizona were in a position to re-open, we have the facilities that are here. We have the hotel space that is here.
“We all want to make certain that the metrics and the data are proper before we’re able to go forward, but I think two words that would allow the country and the state of Arizona to know that things were headed back to normal would be - ‘Play ball!
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said the amount of testing and vaccine available to players was important for the plan to go ahead.