Ever since Major League Baseball suspended the start of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has discussed countless possibilities to bring baseball back as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, despite recent reports of a target date, it seems the 2020 MLB season is no closer to a return.
Despite a report on Monday by former MLB player Trevor Plouffe indicating baseball would return on July 1, there is no firm plan in place for MLB to return. In fact, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, there are currently no plans even close to bringing baseball back in the near future.
While the Cleveland Indians reportedly informed their players that Tuesday, July 1 would be Opening Day, The Athletic reports no firm date exists. Even as states start to open up and lift stay-at-home restrictions, MLB officials are now concerned about a second wave of outbreaks hitting states like Florida, Texas and Arizona.
Further spreading of the coronavirus, especially in those states, would deliver a major blow to one of MLB’s more discussed plans for a return. Teams were hoping that games could be played across several states that opened back up, but that could now be in jeopardy.
MLB wants to send as many teams back to their home cities as they can to play. It’s the best-case scenario that would allow players to remain with their families and could allow team owners to have smaller crowds in their home stadiums. However, the fear of new COVID-19 surges across the country has league officials fearful of this plan working out.
Many around the league have viewed July as the most realistic scenario for Opening Day and the 2020 season to begin. If the league can’t agree to a plan by the end of May to bring baseball back, with support from players, teams and health officials, it will be at a far greater risk of resorting to worst-case scenarios.
There remains confidence across MLB that a season will be played in 2020. Recent estimates projected the league could lose upwards of $2.5 billion if the MLB season is suspended until July, so bringing it back is critical for everyone in the league. If the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t improve across the country and MLB would be risking the health of its players and staff, baseball fans will be waiting through July for MLB to return.