Chicago Cubs may open second spring training at Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field may not sit empty for too much longer. There are plans to utilize team’s stadiums for spring training, including the home of the Chicago Cubs.
It’s strange. This weekend brought the warmest temperatures of the year to the Chicagoland area, but there was no baseball in sight, either at Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field. Both the Chicago Cubs and White Sox remain shuttered, along with much of the country, as social distancing measures remain in place.
When and if such restrictions are eased, it seems highly unlikely fans’ attendance are part of the return of baseball. Large gatherings are banned through the end of the year in many places across the globe, as governments look to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the population.
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We’ve heard it all when it comes to Major League Baseball’s tentative plans to bring America’s pastime back this summer. From playing in Arizona to splitting the league to three sites across the nation or even an MLB-wide divisional realignment, it’s clear Rob Manfred is leaving nothing on the table.
The latest reports are two-fold. First, and foremost, the league is considering having all 30 big league teams play spring training games at their respective home stadiums. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, this decision is “driven by an interest in saving time and money, with training camps expected to last three weeks before the start of the truncated regular season.”
Personally, I’m all for this plan. Any kind of baseball at the Friendly Confines is better than no baseball at all. Spring training will give us (well, those of us who can actually watch Cubs games given the debacle that is known as Marquee Network) a respite from the new normal we are all experiencing.
Once this ramp-up to the regular season concludes, MLB is hoping to have teams play as many of their games in home stadiums, as well, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Again no one really knows what this could look like. There’s too many variables in the equation to even levy an educated guess. But there seems to be one goal in mind for all parties: play baseball in 2020.
"“I’m more optimistic today than I was 10 days ago,” Tampa Bay skipper Kevin Cash told Topkin. “It sounds like there’s enough thought from so many different corners — players, owners, league officials — that the industry as a whole is really trying to put their heads together to make something come together for some sort of a season.”"
For the Cubs, that would mean getting to live with their families in quarantine while playing at Wrigley Field for their scheduled home games. Opponents could be altered, as well, with Chicago taking on fellow NL Central foes, as well as American League Central clubs to limit travel risks.
Again, nothing is set in stone. But the thought of hearing Pat Hughes’ voice echo out over the radio waves, “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air,” is something that, while seemingly insignificant, could be a major boost for baseball fans in the area.