In less than a month, Spring Training is scheduled to begin in Florida and Arizona. Unfortunately that reality has been placed in jeopardy following the recent announcement by Arizona’s Cactus League.
BREAKING Arizona’s Cactus League tells @MLB it wants to delay start of spring training because of Maricopa County’s high COVID infection rate. #12News pic.twitter.com/H61DbDurVY— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) January 25, 2021
The Cactus League’s task force, which includes the leagues Executive Director and a number of Arizona Government officials, sent a letter to MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred. In the letter they request that Spring Training be delayed because of the astronomically high COVID-19 infection rates in Maricopa County.
It is believed that Major League Baseball does not have absolute power to delay the season. The MLBPA would have to included.
This obviously impacts the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee plays in the Cactus League, and the Brewers play their Spring Training home games at American Family Fields of Phoenix in Maryvale, Arizona. Maryvale is a suburb of Phoenix, and both are in Maricopa County.
Asked about the possibility of a delay to Spring Training in Arizona, David Stearns said that the Brewers were planning on an on-time arrival to Spring Training and will continue to do so until notified otherwise.
I asked #Brewers David Stearns about that Cactus League request to delay spring training and he said, "At this point, we are still planning an on-time arrival to spring training. We will continue to plan on that until we are told differently."— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 25, 2021
MLB also put out a response indicating that they would continue to consult public health authorities and medical experts as well as the MLBPA regarding any schedule modifications.
MLB issued a statement to @abc15 on the Cactus League requesting the start of spring training to be delayed pic.twitter.com/SYB61P2JJF— Collin Harmon (@CollinHarmonTV) January 25, 2021
The MLBPA also put out a statement saying they “of course” want a safe environment but are still planning for an on-time start to Spring Training and the regular season.
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association regarding the Cactus League letter: pic.twitter.com/5j0vGewKC7— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) January 25, 2021