The 2020 MLB season has yet to begin because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the league is reportedly considering beginning play as soon as the middle of June. While many details are yet to be filled in, one plan under consideration is starting the season in three "hubs" in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, as first reported by our own R.J. Anderson.
Arizona and Florida of course have both major-league ballparks and spring training facilities, but for the Texas plan to be viable the Rangers' new ballpark in Arlington, which boasts a retractable roof, would need to be in mix. Rangers GM Jon Daniels addressed that possibility in a recent Q&A with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News this week. Here's the relevant exchange:
How do you feel about the "hub" plan, which would call for a handful of cities hosting multiple teams, Arlington being among them?
"For a variety of factors, it makes a lot of sense. We've had some involvement from a due diligence standpoint, but I would not want to overstate that piece of it. I think [Dodgers president] Stan Kasten said about 1% of all ideas have become public. There have been a lot of ideas. That's just one."
The new ballpark is Globe Life Field, a 1.7 million-square foot facility that cost more than $1 billion with almost half of that total coming from local bonds and taxes. Obviously, the Rangers were banking on making a lot of money via gate receipts and concession/merch sales from the new ballpark prior to the coronavirus shutdown. As things stand, it's possible no games with fans will be played in 2020, which is especially bad news for Texas.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic further reported that MLB could be expanding its vision for the 2020 season and looking at the possibility of playing in up to 20 different ballparks in 10 different states. Given the forthcoming loosening of shutdown restrictions in Texas, Globe Life Field would certainly be a fitting venue regardless of what shape the season takes. For his part, Daniels seems to be on board with whatever is ahead.