MLB told Gov. Doug Ducey to still expect spring training in Arizona
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that he still expects spring training to take place in the Valley, even though Major League Baseball announced a day earlier that it canceled the first week of regular season games due to the lockout.
“I am told by the league we will have spring training games here,” Ducey told The Mike Broomhead Show on KTAR News 92.3. “They do have to train before they go back to their markets, and we want to host it here in Arizona, of course.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday announced that the first two series of the regular season will be canceled after the MLB Players Association rejected the league’s latest offer.
As for spring, Manfred said the earliest teams could gather at camps — if a deal is reached in short order — is next Tuesday.
From an economic standpoint, the greater Phoenix area could again lose out on millions of dollars with a shortened spring schedule.
A study from Arizona State University found that the Cactus League’s season generated an estimated economic impact of $363.6 million in 2020 before the shutdown in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure was down nearly $300 million from the estimated $644.2 million generated in 2018. There was no data for 2021 because the study is done every other year, and Cactus League venues were limited in capacity due to the ongoing pandemic.
On Wednesday, Ducey said he has been in talks with Manfred and MLB about the possibilities of a deal getting done to commence ramp-up for the 2022 regular season.
“I’ve expressed my voice to Major League Baseball. These guys need to figure this out. It’s time to say ‘play ball,’ let’s have spring training,” the governor said.
“I did talk to the commissioner. It was a productive conversation. We want baseball here. We want every single club and every single player here. Life is back to normal, Arizona is wide open and we want to host spring training. So I’m calling on these guys to get the deal done. And boy, America wants baseball, needs baseball.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks were slated to take on the Brewers in Milwaukee to open up the season on March 31 before visiting the Dodgers in Los Angeles for six games in a seven-day span.
With an 162-game schedule no longer happening, the earliest Opening Day could be for the D-backs is on April 7 against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.