In the early morning hours Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on a radical proposal that could call for the regular season to begin as early as May. It would involve all 30 teams playing games in the Phoenix area while living in hotels, sequestered from their families and everyday life.
The plan, which is in its very early stages, received a polarizing response from both fans and those within the game of baseball and rightfully so. While the idea of baseball returning sooner rather than later is exciting, it will be both very difficult and costly to pull it off with virtually no room for error.
Feedback from players has been mixed. Andy McCullough of The Athletic reached out to multiple players about the plan, including new Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. If the proposal were to come to fruition, Wheeler would be put in a very tough spot. His wife Dominique is expecting the couple’s first child in July.
“I couldn’t even imagine missing the birth and just not being around and going ‘hey, I’ll see you in December or whatever it is,” Wheeler told The Athletic. “That’s not going to work.”
No amount of money can replace missing out on the birth of a child, so it’s easy to understand why Wheeler would not be in favor of a plan that could keep him away from his family. Players and spouses with young children have expressed similar concerns, including Kaycee Sogard, the wife of Milwaukee Brewers infielder Eric Sogard:
On the other hand, some players are in full support of the plan. Former Phillies ace Cole Hamels gave a strong endorsement of the proposal.
“I think we should do anything we can to get baseball back and into focus for the fans and world,” Hamels said. “Sports helps give people entertainment and something to look forward to, so they can get through tough times.”
The full article provides numerous perspectives from key players around the league. In the next few days, more players will be weighing in on the Arizona plan. It will be interesting to see how divided the players are when it comes to this particular issue.
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