Advertisement

Baseball won’t seek quick return in Florida as essential business like WWE

League makes clear in statement health and safety are priority, that designation by Gov. DeSantis won’t impact decision.
Commissioner Rob Manfred says the only decision the league has "is that baseball is not going to return until the public health situation has improved to the point that we’re comfortable that we can play games in a manner that is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely."
Commissioner Rob Manfred says the only decision the league has "is that baseball is not going to return until the public health situation has improved to the point that we’re comfortable that we can play games in a manner that is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely." [ JOHN RAOUX | Associated Press ]
Published Apr. 14, 2020|Updated Apr. 15, 2020

Could Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to deem the WWE as “essential business,” allowing live pro wrestling to continue in Orlando, mean Major League Baseball games will soon be played in Florida?

It sure doesn’t look like it.

In a statement released Tuesday night to the Tampa Bay Times, MLB basically said thanks but no thanks, making clear it will wait until the public health situation improves overall while continuing to make health and safety for all parties a priority:

“MLB has been working diligently to plan for many different contingencies, and one of many ideas that has been discussed has been to play some of our games (in) Florida when the public heath situation allows for it. We are appreciative that the governor is open to playing games in Florida as one potential solution, but we all agree that such efforts can only be undertaken in a manner that does not endanger public health, nor the health of our players and fans. We will continue to be guided by those principles."

Earlier Tuesday, commissioner Rob Manfred made similar comments to Fox Business about general plans for a return to action.

“Most important, the only decision that we have made, the only real plan that we have, is that baseball is not going to return until the public health situation has improved to the point that we’re comfortable that we can play games in a manner that is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely," Manfred said.

“So right now, it’s largely a waiting game. During that period, as you might expect any business would, we have engaged in contingency planning. We’ve thought about how we might be able to return in various scenarios, but again the key is the improvement in the public health situation.”

Related: Column: Baseball has a role in America's recovery as long as it understands its place

There have been reports of various plans, one that would have all teams play in Arizona and another with teams at their spring sites in Florida and Arizona.

Manfred said Tuesday that those are among “a variety” of contingency plans that league officials have discussed and worked on.

“Plans” may be too strong a word ... Ideas may be a better word,” he said. "All of them are designed to address limitations that may exist when businesses restart. Travel limitations, limitations on mass gatherings that may still exist, and we’ve thought about ways to try to make baseball available to all the fans across the United States in the face of those restrictions.

“So from our perspective we don’t have a plan, we have lots of ideas. What ideas come to fruition will depend on what the restrictions are, what the public health situation is. But we are intent on the idea of trying to make baseball part of the recovery, the economic recovery and sort of a milestone on the return to normalcy."