MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — The Arizona Cactus League Association and Valley leaders are recommending the Major League Baseball organization delay spring training in Maricopa County due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommendation was sent in a letter to the MLB from Bridget Binsbacher, the executive director of the Cactus League, mayors or city managers from Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Surprise, Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, and the president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
"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 to improve here," the letter said.
The Cactus League's COVID-19 task force has worked to ensure that ballparks are able to meet COVID-19 protocols, the letter said. But, they believe that mid-March would be a safer time to begin spring training.
"This position is based on public data from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which projects a sharp decline in infections in Arizona by mid-March (an estimated 9,712 daily infections on February 15 and 3,072 daily infections on March 15)," the letter said.
The MLB Player's Association released a statement saying it is aware of the Cactus League Association's letter, which "correctly notes the MLB does not have the ability to unilaterally" make a decision to push back Spring Training.
The MLBPA says the MLB has repeatedly assured them that is it has instructed teams to prepare for an on time start to Spring Training and the season and the MLBPA continues to devote its efforts to making sure that takes place as safely as possible.
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