The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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MLB in PHX is a Fantasy...For Now

MLB shocked the sports world on Tuesday when a report detailed a discussed plan to start the regular season in May, with all 30 teams competing in Phoenix.

MLB's plan offered at least fleeting hope that some sports will resume playing and sooner rather than later.

Of course, its fraught with problems.

Amongst the many likely unsurmountable challenges the current plan would face is how many non-MLB employed individuals would be exposed to increased risk that are not professional athletes?

How would MLB navigate around what is a brutal summer landscape for baseball that would likely require daily doubleheaders played outside?

Could any team really survive being cooped up in a hotel isolation style with each other? Wouldn't the World Series basically just be what team didn't beat the crap out of each other by then?

In fact, MLB released a statement after the report clarifying that it had not sought permission from state, local or federal officials and most importantly had not had conversations with the MLB Players Union.

Based on some social media reaction, the possibility of the sports world's most powerful union agreeing to total isolation from their family and friends for an extended period of time might have at best a 50/50 shot of passing.

I understand why the local reaction was so favorable to the news. We all need fantasies to get us through these weird times. I've spent more time planning a trip to Chicago for a September wedding than I care to admit only because thinking about it is the best escape I get most days.

MLB in Phoenix for four plus months would be a massive economic stimulus for a state that lost much of its peak visitor season to Covid-19. Empty hotels would be packed. With hundreds of professional athletes hanging around, restaurants would likely be able to make up for the months they lost to the virus.

It would be a four month bailout for beleaguered local businesses.

But, its also probably just a fantasy.

I'm not a sports doomsdayer. Some people believe there will be no organized professional sports for another 12-18 months. Others believe they'll be tailgating and drinking in the stand of an NFL game by September. As often is the case, the truth is likely in the middle.

Sports will be likely be back this year. in some modified fashion.

And Phoenix very well could still host MLB teams this season. But probably not in May and probably not as MLB hopes.

No one really knows what's going to happen but it doesn't stop us from trying to figure it out.

In that way, MLB is just like everyone else.

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