It might be a long time before Los Angeles Angels fans can see their favorite team play in Anaheim.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested it will be several months before social distancing restrictions can be lifted to allow for large events, such as baseball games, to be played in Anaheim, or anywhere else in the state.
“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” Newsom said, according to The Mercury News. “So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers altogether across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”
Obviously, this means the idea of playing Major League Baseball games at Angel Stadium anytime soon is unrealistic, at least in front of fans.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has warned internal city officials that large gatherings, including sporting events, will not be approved in the city for at least one year.
MLB and the Players Association are working together on a variety of plans to try to start the season in alternate locations. One idea that has received a lot of attention in recent weeks involves isolating players around Spring Training locations in Arizona, and possibly Florida, in an attempt to create a “clean” environment where essential team personnel can reside and play a semblance of a 2020 baseball season.
Under another proposal, the Angels would find themselves in the same division as the Dodgers in a massive realignment aimed at taking advantage of teams who have Spring Training facilities in close proximity to each other.
With the novel coronavirus reaching every corner of the globe, Major League Baseball has been shutdown since March 13. As testing for the virus has become more widely available, there are still challenges in rolling out a national testing strategy. Developing a vaccine, a key tenet of the Governor’s milestones before returning to normal activities, will take several more months, and probably won’t be completed until 2021.
The Angels were set to open the season in Anaheim on April 3 against the Houston Astros. Players have been keeping busy while following social distancing protocols at their homes and near the Angels Spring Training facility in Arizona. Shohei Ohtani continues to rehab his pitching arm and is close to returning to the mound. Griffin Canning, who was shutdown early in the spring, is also progressing back to full health.