Baseball in a bubble? Studying idea of season in Arizona

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Major League Baseball has steered championship seasons through natural disasters, world wars, a devastating domestic terror attack and an array of self-inflicted wounds, including multiple work stoppages.

Little wonder, then, that it might believe it can pull off a particularly ambitious and somewhat diabolical gambit: A pop-up city in a pandemic, requiring the sequestration and cooperation of nearly 10,000 people.

MLB and the union’s very preliminary discussions about staging a season within Phoenix’s Chase Field and surrounding stadiums was met with significant resistance after details emerged Monday and Tuesday, with the country now grappling with 10,000 COVID-19-related deaths amid a shortage of medical personnel and equipment.

Thirty teams playing 15 games a day in the Phoenix area would require the use of Chase Field, college ballparks and spring training stadiums, such as American Family Fields in Maryvale.

Additionally, the concept of sequestering players and staff for some four months creates a litany of complications, ethical, logistical and otherwise.

As a continental sports shutdown nears the one-month mark, the best answer for epidemiologists projecting the near-term future of the industry remains, “I don’t know.”

Yet MLB and its players must move forward with hypotheticals. An entire season and nearly $11 billion of industry revenue is at stake, and the Arizona option, or something like it, may, weeks from now, remain on the table.



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