It looks like the MLB is scrapping the idea of starting the season only in Arizona, and this is good for the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the Grapefruit Spring Training League.
After analyzing the logistics, the latest idea includes leaving the teams in their spring training locations, which would smartly keep the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, rather than moving everyone to Arizona.
According to the latest news from Bob Nightengale with USA Today, the MLB is looking into a wiser idea than packing the entire league into the Phoenix Area. The basis of the new idea is to briefly eliminate the AL and NL, and keep the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Within the 15-team leagues, the MLB would divide them into three divisions based on geography.
Since many baseball players are still in their spring training homes, this idea makes more sense than forcing them all to move to Phoenix. Teams already have the support they need in their spring training locales.
What does this mean for the Orioles?
Since the teams in Florida are already scattered around the state, the Grapefruit League will have an east and west (or south) division, and an inappropriately named north division. The East Division is easy to understand as five teams – the Astros, Nationals, Cardinals, Marlins, and Mets – play near each other.
The west side of Florida has the rest of the teams, with the exception of the Tigers would play in Lakeland. The teams on the North Division of the west side would include the Tigers, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, and Blue Jays.
The South Division would include the Orioles, Rays, Braves, Twins, and Red Sox.
Since the Grapefruit League already includes teams that play east of the Mississippi, the new league contains mostly AL and NL East teams, with a few Centrals and the Astros mixed in.
Realignment in Arizona
Over in Arizona, the three divisions mix up the league even more. The MLB is considering calling the divisions the Northeast, with the Cubs, Giants, Dbacks, Rockies, and As; the West with the Dodgers, White Sox, Reds, Indians, and Angels; and the Northwest with the Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rangers, and Royals.
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Tough Division for Orioles
This temporary realignment mixes up the playoff-contending teams and those in rebuild. The Orioles still have two other AL East teams to face, as well as two contending teams, the Twins and Braves. The Rays and Red Sox are perennially tough, too. If this realignment happens, the Red Sox and Orioles would be in the battle for the bottom in the South Division.
If this idea comes to fruition, the teams will have some travel, going back and forth to the Marlins Park and Tropicana Field for games. No fans would be in attendance for games, and minimal staff would be required to be there, too.
Of course safety is the first concern, but it would make the at-home orders easier to swallow if live baseball was on TV everyday.