A letter suggests “Delay ball!” rather than “Play ball!”
Citing a surge in COVID-19 cases in Arizona, the Cactus League, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord and other leaders sent a letter Jan. 25 asking Major League Baseball to delay the start of Spring Training.
“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 here,” said the letter.
“As leaders charged with protecting public health, and as committed, longtime partners in the spring training industry, we want you to know that we stand united on this point,” stated the letter, written by eight mayors and Bridget Binsbacher, the Cactus League executive director who is also a Peoria councilwoman.
Sent less than a month from the reporting date for pitchers and catchers, the letter notes a University of Washington study calls for “a sharp decline in infections in Arizona by mid-March.”
In a statement responding to the Cactus League letter, Major League Baseball said it “will continue to consult with public health authorities, medical experts, and the Players Association whether any schedule modifications to the announced start of Spring Training and the Championship Season should be made in light of the current COVID-19 environment to ensure the safety of the players, coaches, umpires, MLB employees and other game day personnel in a sport that plays every day.”