While professional sports have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball may be considering a plan to move all teams and games to Arizona, in hopes of getting the 2020 season underway.
First reported by ESPN.com, sources told the network that the Arizona plan is one of several ideas the league is looking at. Stephen Freyer, a sports agent and the owner of Freyer Management Associates, told Emily Rooney on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Thursday that the choice of state presents difficulties for players.
“The problem with Arizona … is, among other things, it’s extremely hot in June, July, and August. It would be very challenging to play games during the daytime…. If you’re playing in the evening, there goes East Coast TV. More importantly, is the number of people you’re involved,” Freyer said. “We’ve got 26 players and a couple of coaches, but really when you think about it, each team probably has at least 75 people…. If one of them gets diagnosed, what do you do about that?”
Freyer also noted that playing in Arizona means players would be separated from their families for months at a time. Then there’s the aspect of training.
“Most position players could probably get in-game shape within a week or so if they’ve been taking care of themselves. But pitchers really need three weeks to get their arms ready, to get their bodies ready for it. So you have to tack that on top of the issue of beginning the games,” he said.
But if the season did start over the summer, Freyer said it would most likely be without the fans.
“What’s normal going to look like? No one’s really been able to describe that yet. Playing in front of no fans out in Arizona isn’t a big deal for the players because they were used to it when they were playing in the minor leagues,” Freyer said.
As for other sports like the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, Freyer explained that there are a host of other challenges involved.
“I can’t imagine how [their season’s] would happen. I think the National Basketball Association is talking about putting on mini-games of some sort, but that’s not real basketball. That doesn’t get back into the season. I think with hockey, you’ve got a huge problem with the availability of the arenas, with the ice during the summers. There’s all kinds of factors involved. It’s not easy,” he said.