As first reported by R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports, MLB’s evolving discussions around a way to start the 2020 season now include the possibility of a hub in Texas as well as in Arizona and Florida. Just like with the reports that included having every team in the Phoenix area or having them split between their spring training sites there and in Florida, it’s important to bear in mind that these are all products of fairly desperate brainstorming and are not ironclad in the least.
According to Anderson’s sources, one of whom “expressed guarded optimism,” the three-way possibility has been coming up over the past few days. While splitting teams up even further might not seem like the best idea at first blush, there’s some merit to the idea of spreading things out to make better use of domed or retractable-roof stadiums. Having a hub in Arlington would also keep Florida centralized to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and could also separate Phoenix-based teams that share facilities.
Ballparks in St. Petersburg (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona), and Arlington (Texas) each have roofs, retractable or otherwise, that would safeguard against rainouts and other extreme weather, allowing for multiple games to be hosted at those sites per day. Theoretically, MLB could also ask teams stationed in Florida and Texas to drive three-plus hours to other MLB parks (Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Miami’s Marlins Park).
Unlike the initial report of the Florizona Plan that included full divisional breakdowns, it’s not yet known how many teams would be in each of the three locations or how they’d be aligned. Putting 10 in each spot, perhaps in five-team divisions, would seem to make a lot of sense on the surface, but it ignores the very obvious fact that Arlington simply doesn’t have the same infrastructure present in the other two spots.
The big key to this proposal is that it’s got teams in three different time zones, a concept we can discuss elsewhere if you have trouble with it. All of the locales also present some manner of weather-proofing. That means more games and, wait for it…more money. This is far from the last of these potential plans you’re going to hear about, so be prepared for all manner of new and different iterations over the coming weeks.