Red Sox spring training expected to resume at Fenway Park
The Red Sox plan to resume spring training at Fenway Park.
Major League Baseball wasn’t able to complete spring training before the season changed to summer. If camp reopens at all this year, clubs won’t be in their spring training facilities, meaning the Boston Red Sox have seen the last of JetBlue Park in 2020.
Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy confirmed that they plan to hold the resumption of spring training at Fenway Park, according to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
It appears this decision lines up with what most MLB teams will be doing if baseball returns this year. The league closed all spring training facilities for a deep cleaning and required players and staff members to pass a COVID-19 test before they could enter. This decision was made following reports of multiple players and staff members from the Philadelphia Phillies testing positive for the virus.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that every MLB team has since pivoted to having spring training at their home parks instead of their spring facilities. The recent surge of COVID-19 in Florida and Arizona has made sequestering all 30 teams in those two states unrealistic.
The lone exception could be the Toronto Blue Jays due to travel restrictions in Canada. If crossing the border proves to be too much of a hurdle then the Jays may need to set up camp elsewhere.
There have been some discussions about the Jays playing their home games at Tropicana Field this season, sharing the park with the Tampa Bay Rays. That may not be an ideal scenario either if conditions in Florida continue to trend in the wrong direction. Besides, the Trop is arguably the worst ballpark in the majors. Do we really want the Red Sox to travel there twice as often to meet two different division rivals?
The change in spring training venues shouldn’t faze the Red Sox. JetBlue Park was built as replica of Fenway so they will be playing in a very similar stadium either way. Holding camp in Florida makes sense during the months of February and March when it’s still freezing here in Boston. Training at Fenway is far more appealing than playing outdoors in the sweltering heat of a July day in Fort Myers without a dome to protect players from the sun or air conditioning to stave off heat stroke.
The MLB Players Association is expected to decide soon if they intend to accept the league’s latest 60-game proposal or leave it up to commissioner Rob Manfred to set a schedule. Either way, the labor dispute should be settled soon and the bigger threat to the season is now the latest outbreaks of the coronavirus.
If the league manages to have a 2020 season, spring training will likely be pushed back to the end of this month or the weekend of July 4. Players will need approximately three weeks to prepare, placing a late-July target for Opening Day as a best case scenario.