MLB Reportedly Has Considered Playing 2020 Season in Japan Amid COVID-19
As Major League Baseball considers various options for the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, one idea reportedly discussed involved playing games in a different country.
Per ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, one MLB source told him two weeks ago "we're going to play in Japan":
"The Japanese league is going to get through this faster than America's going to get through it. The Japanese league is going to play at night and the major leagues are going to play during the day in Japanese stadiums and that's how we are going to get this thing started."
Kurkjian said MLB playing games in Japan was a ridiculous idea but noted "in the end, I think something ridiculous is how we're going to play the season, if we play the season."
A number of reported ideas explored by MLB have come out in the past week. ESPN's Jeff Passan said Monday the league is considering playing games in the Phoenix area, where a number of spring training facilities are located, and teams would be isolated to traveling between their hotels and stadiums.
Another idea, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, essentially expanded on the one Passan reported with MLB getting rid of the American League and National League in favor of the Cactus League and Grapefruit League.
All 30 teams would be split evenly between Arizona and Florida, depending on where their spring training facilities are located, and broken into divisions based on where their complex is based.
It's unclear how viable the reported Japan plan might be, even if it were agreed upon by the league and players. The Nippon Professional Baseball league had hoped to begin its season April 24 but will extend the postponement.