Cactus League, Arizona cities request spring training delay

Uncertainty always swirled around spring training given the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic, and with transmission rates skyrocketing in Arizona, the possibility of a delay appears ever greater.

Cactus League officials sent Major League Baseball a letter requesting the league delay the start of spring training, saying, “In view of the current state of the pandemic in Maricopa County — with one of the nation’s highest infection rates — we believe it is wise to delay the start of spring training to allow for the COVID-19 situation here.”

So what happens next? Commissioner Rob Manfred sent teams a memo earlier this month to expect to start spring training on time and to play a full 162-game season. Can MLB impose spring training on communities and a league that have have asked for a delay? League officials have known throughout the pandemic that flexibility is a must and they’re accustomed to making accommodations as infection rates rise and fall.

“Nobody has a clue,” A’s team doctor Allan Pont said Monday. “It’s possible we’ll open on time. It’s possible we won’t. From a practical standpoint, no one really knows right now. Can it happen? It depends on how you want to do it. We’re still dealing with this. My view is if there is a huge rate of infection, you probably don’t want to do it.”

The letter to MLB, first obtained by Pheonix television station KPNX, suggests mid-March as a…

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