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MLB News: Cactus League Requests Delay of Spring Training in Arizona

Things appear to be getting complicated in MLB’s quest to start the season.



MLB has hit their first official speed bump on the road to getting the season started on time. In order to stay on track, the league would have to start Spring Training by February 27th as scheduled. That start date appears to be in jeopardy as Maricopa County continues to struggle with very high COVID-19 numbers. 

Officials from Maricopa sent out a memo to MLB after their task force found that they will not be ready for the Spring Training report date. Despite setting up new protocols to keep fans and players safe and socially distanced, the task force found that the coronavirus infection rate was far too high to assume the risk of starting on time. 

As such, they asked in the memo that MLB consider starting Cactus League activity at a later date. While they did not ask for a specific date, they reference a University of Washington study that predicted numbers in Maricopa County to drop off signifiantly by March 15. If that were the desired date, baseball activity would start just a little over 2 weeks delayed. 

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A delayed Spring Training start date does not necessarily mean that MLB’s Opening Day is in jeopardy. But if they were to start Spring Training in mid-March, that would leave just 2 weeks before the April 1st start date. 

Whether MLB plans to actually take the recommendation into account remains to be seen. The league has yet to issue any sort of statemet in the wake of the Cactus League’s memo that was released today. But the fact that there seems to be concern on the part of Arizona officials does indicate that there are problems ahead.

One thing is for sure: MLB has a lot of things they need to get figured out over the next couple of weeks. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I live in AZ. The Covid rate here per 100K has consistently been the highest in the country. The AZ Governor has been no help in attempting to mitigate the damage. Vaccine shortages in the world and in the US and especially in AZ has slowed vaccination rates to a crawl.
    AZ has spent a ton of money to build stadiums and venues to appeal to the tourist trade during Spring Training. The state and baseball will lose a ton of money if they have Spring ball without fans.
    Until the country can get the numbers down baseball is not practical. The new variants of Covid are more contagious and deadly. Baseball should delay to get more people vaccinated. I love baseball and i am almost 70. I get season tickets to Camelback every year. But I am not going until I get vaccinated and the numbers go down. We have two daughters in the Medical field one is a ICU nurse this pandemic is very real.

    • Baseball shouldn’t be played, yet Maricopa County is allowing the Suns and Coyotes to play at indoor venues. The Coyotes are even allowed to have fans attend. College sports are being played and parents from out of state are going to Arizona so their kids can play youth sports. How does that make any sense?

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