Players reportedly were going to wait until today to vote on the latest proposal from ownership for a 60-game season, 10 short of their desired total.
Then they were actually going to vote yesterday, per multiple reports.
And then they didn’t, per multiple reports.
Isn’t this fun?
The latest outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests is going to push back the possible start of spring training 2.0 to at least June 29, with opening day postponed until July 26. USA Today reported yesterday that Major League Baseball had 40 players and staff members test positive last week.
Every spring training complex in Florida and Arizona has been closed and teams are instructed to provide more deep cleanings at the facilities in the latest attempt to keep players and staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Orioles never took the risk.
They’ve been closed since shutting down operations three months ago at the Ed Smith Stadium complex and Camden Yards. They didn’t unlock the doors and gates.
Meanwhile, the 2020 season has been threatened again as more COVID-19 cases are reported in a variety of sports. Not just in baseball. Not just at the professional level.
An Orioles spokesperson issued the following statement over the weekend:
“All of our facilities in Florida and Maryland have been closed since March 13. We will be operating from Oriole Park at Camden Yards only after the protocol for testing and distancing is finalized and operative. Until then, we have no plans to reopen.”
A wise decision from the onset.
Spring training 2.0 seems certain to be held in Maryland, if the owners and Major League Baseball Players Association can work out an agreement and health concerns are eased. Perhaps the Orioles could spread out workouts to include one or more of their minor league affiliates.
No one knows at this point. There are no firm answers.
The Yankees and Mets would train in New York at their respective ballparks. Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Saturday.
Remember when New York City wasn’t safe? When an early suggestion had teams playing their games only in Florida, Arizona and Texas?
The virus is calling the shots here. Not the owners or the union.
They can agree to 50, 60 or 70 games and how to set salaries and it won’t matter if cases keep rising and more players are testing positive.
Could a truncated season be played at a bubble site, as the NBA wants to do in Orlando? The subject came up back in April. Staging a season at Phoenix’s Chase Field and surrounding stadiums.
Players weren’t thrilled with the idea of being sequestered for so long, among other concerns. And where exactly is it safe to play, with a sufficient number of ballparks to make it work?
Baseball is in a unique position compared to the NBA and NHL, which already had gotten deep into their seasons prior to hitting the pause button. The playoff format would change, but it’s a lot easier than MLB having to start a season of any length and finish before a feared second wave of the virus.
That is, if the first wave actually stops.
The Wizards played 64 games, losing 40 of them. The Capitals played 69, winning 41.
The Orioles had played 19 exhibition games. They were two weeks away from opening day.
It was complicated.
It’s a total mess now with owners and players squabbling and the pandemic again tightening its grip.