Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring home of the Los Angeles Angels./USA TODAY SPORTS/REUTERS
By Joshua Bowling, Alison Steinbach, Taylor Seely, Jen Fifield, Paulina Pineda, Aydali Campa | Arizona Republic
Metro Phoenix ballparks are preparing for spring training baseball to start on schedule, despite pleas from the Cactus League and a coalition of Valley mayors to delay the season’s start.
After the Cactus League and Valley mayors sent a letter to Major League Baseball and asked the organization to pump the brakes, MLB proposed delaying the season by one month. The players union in response said it is ready to proceed with spring training on schedule, with pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 17 and the planned slate of games.
Valley cities are preparing for spring training games to start Feb. 27 and run through March, though the MLB hasn’t explicitly said that will happen. The Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday announced the team will start workouts on schedule, as well.
“Cactus League host municipalities are working with stakeholders to finalize preparations for opening spring training camps. We expect to announce details soon,” Cactus League Executive Director Bridget Binsbacher said in a statement.
Several Phoenix area cities have approved COVID-19 mitigation plans that will require face masks and limit fans at the ballparks. One of the most visited, the Chicago Cubs ballpark in Mesa, for instance, plans to limit attendance to 4,000 instead of the usual 15,000.
Although cities are getting their ducks in a row by reviewing and signing off on mitigation strategies, city officials say they don’t know when tickets will go on sale.