As Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association start to hash out plans to return to baseball in 2020, the state of California has thrown a curve that could hurt the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
As long as Major League Baseball and the players can come to an agreement over their money squabbles, there will likely be meaningful baseball played in 2020, despite everything that COVID-19 has done to delay it. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.
The current plan being discussed involves teams resuming Spring Training and playing an 82-game regular season in their home ballparks. The games, of course, would be played without fans, as social distancing measures are still in place, but would allow for limited travel and provide the ability for players to have their families accessible. The teams would return to spring training in
June and the season would begin on or around July 4th.
However, that may need to change a bit for teams in California, including the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Los Angeles County health officials recommended that the current stay-at-home order should remain in place for another three months, according to various reports. Originally set to expire on May 15th, this new extension could push it throughout the summer. Given that Major League Baseball would want to begin to play in Los Angeles in July, and if other counties follow suit, that could force the Angels to look elsewhere to play their 2020 season.
That answer will likely be Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels spring training home in Arizona.
The Angels have played their spring games at the stadium since 1993, so the team and their families are no strangers to the area or the complex. Being that no fans are permitted into the games under the current plans, this likely will have little bearing on the at-home fan experience, as games will still be televised.
One benefit of such a move is that all five California teams may be forced into similar situations. Coupled with the travel to the Texas stadiums, this may actually be beneficial in terms of further reducing travel times and distances. Seattle and Colorado would remain the only true outliers within the western divisions.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel Los Angeles County is being too cautious in terms of allowing games to be played? Will you simply be happy to have baseball back, even if it is played in Arizona?