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Insider Only MLB eyes a May return in Arizona, Pessimism in NHL circles?

Major League Baseball to begin regular season by Late May/Early June?

(Photo: David Hague)

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union are accelerating a plan to return in early May, much sooner than many expected, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan reportsESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.

As expected, It’s a very complicated scenario.

The plan, which according to Passan currently has support of Federal officials, calls for all 30 teams playing in the greater Phoenix area in isolation without fans. Rapid testing, along with players and coaches having to sit in the stands 6-feet apart is among the things at play.

Passan reports — players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel would be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation and travel only to and from the stadium. —

Other items detailed in the report:

*The league would be “Implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter.”
*There would be No mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach
*Current discussions are proposing Seven-inning doubleheaders. Previous reports had MLB planning for a 100 game schedule starting in late June/early July, but potential movement in starting much earlier than expected could see MLB finding a way to get 162 games in with a large amount of doubleheaders paving the way.

There are a ton of hurdles for MLB to pull this off and the great unknown of being able to sustain the season once it gets underway, but what MLB has at their disposal compared to the NHL and NBA is that MLB players haven’t been paid a dime yet for the 2020 season.

MLB can pull off getting union support in isolating players for months with player salaries for this season at stake.

While MLB is contemplating a return in Arizona and the NBA mulling an isolation playoffs in Las Vegas, the NHL says ‘Hold My Beer’………. ‘How’s North Dakota and New Hampshire sound?’

Top league executives fear there is currently low support from the players union to return in low population neutralized sites as the NHL faces the problem MLB doesn’t have.

Is going to risk your health and being isolated away from your loved one’s worth it? For some it’s just not going to be worth it.

As one NHL source says, if there’s no chance of a normal return, getting enough union support will come down to players being frightened about the escrow and they will have to be sold on a financial plan from the league that deals with this.

Time will tell where things go.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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