31 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States, and 24 of the deaths are from Washington state, according to CNN. And on Tuesday night, the Seattle Times reported that Washington governor Jay Inslee “is expected Wednesday to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people, including at sporting events and concerts.”
The Herald Net adds more:
“Initially the prohibition would be imposed only in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, the state’s three most populous. The largest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases are in King and Snohomish counties.”
Well, that directly impacts the Seattle Mariners and their home stadium, T-Mobile Park. And before Tuesday night’s news of Gov. Inslee’s expected decision to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people in the Seattle area, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported that the Mariners have discussed playing their home games at their spring training facility in Arizona.
If government officials impose restrictions that prohibit events on the scale of Major League Baseball games in the Seattle area, the Mariners could temporarily play their home games in Arizona at their spring training facility, people familiar with the contingency plans said on Tuesday.
The Mariners play their spring training games in Peoria, AZ at the Peoria Sports Complex (and share the facility with the San Diego Padres).
Drellich adds that “many outcomes are in play,” with the Mariners potentially playing some home games in Arizona and at another team’s MLB stadium for other games.
For example, the Mariners could play some home games in Arizona, and perhaps others at a road stadium in another major-league city, depending on the length of any potential absence from Seattle.
The Mariners open their 2020 regular season on March 26 with a four-game home series against the Texas Rangers, and follow that up with a three-game series at home against the Minnesota Twins. That’s followed by an eight-game road trip, before having a home series against the Boston Red Sox on April 9.
Drellich was told by a source that the Mariners playing the opening series in Texas is “not likely,” as the Rangers could use more time before opening up their new stadium in Arlington, Globe Life Field.
Update: Gov. Inslee indeed announced that he is banning large group events in the area through March, and the Seattle Mariners reportedly won’t play their first two series at home.
Hear that the #Mariners are not going to play their first 2 series at home by governor decree. MLB. Working on scenarios to relocate
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 11, 2020
The Mariners released a statement about working on “alternative plans” for the games.
Statement from the Seattle Mariners on Governor Jay Inslee’s community strategies to combat the spread of COVID19:
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) March 11, 2020