Major League Baseball’s hopes to return in June and July brightened Monday with California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying that he could see Major League Baseball parks in his state open without fans.
There are five big league franchises in California – the Oakland A’s, the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the San Diego Padres – and if their stadiums were to be closed, the MLB proposal to bring baseball back would have been in trouble.
At his press conference Monday, Newsom said: “Pro sports, in that first week or so of June, without spectators, and modifications, and very prescriptive conditions, also can begin to move forward, and a number of other sectors of our economy will open up again if we hold these trend lines in the next number of weeks, and that includes sporting events.”
Major League Baseball has been locked down since March 12 during the pandemic.
The conditions, which would need the state to continue to keep its COVID-19 coronavirus infections under control, would preclude fans from attending at the season’s start, although the possibility has been left open that fans might be part of the baseball equation later in the season.
Last week Major League team owners ratified plans for baseball heading forward. A 67-page protocol for the handling of health and safety issues went to MLB players late last week, and three of the governors of the most important states for baseball – California, New York and Texas – have already given their blessing to move forward.
Additionally, the governors of Arizona and Florida have made it clear that any team unable to get clearance to play at its home facility could feel free to play at their spring homes. Together, those five states are home to a dozen of the league’s 30 franchises.
The proposal sitting in front of the players and subject to negotiation by the players’ union, calls for a mid-June start to a training camp, either at the team’s home ballpark or at its spring training site, of which 15 are in Florida and 15 in Arizona.
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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