Drayer: What are the Mariners’ options with Washington’s crowd ban?
Mar 11, 2020, 11:48 AM | Updated: 2:39 pm
Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement of the banning of large group events through March in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties put an end to what had been rumbling for some time around the Mariners in Arizona.
With each passing day during the current coronavirus outbreak in the Seattle area, it had looked more and more likely that the Mariners’ opening series would not be played – at least in front of fans – at T-Mobile Park.
The question now: What next?
The Mariners, MLB and the MLB Players Association have been monitoring the situation and there has been talk of numerous plans that could be put in place. The two most likely scenarios are that the Mariners either play all road games until it is deemed safe to once again have crowds at T-Mobile Park or play their home games in Arizona.
With the opening series being against the Texas Rangers, who are moving into a new ballpark that may or may not be ready by March 26, it would seem that at least the first four games are played in Arizona. Seattle’s next opponent, the Minnesota Twins, would be coming off an opening series in relatively nearby Oakland so it wouldn’t be an unreasonable ask to play that three-game set in Arizona. Of course the question then is once again, what next?
Inslee warned that the ban, which is currently through March 31, is “highly likely to be extended.” We most likely are looking at more than one home series being moved, and if so, broader plans will need to be executed. It is important to remember that this is an extremely fluid situation not just for the Mariners but for all of baseball. Even as the governor was making his announcement in Seattle, news came down that the San Francisco was banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more for at least the next two weeks.
What happens when you have two teams scheduled to play each other from cities where there are crowd bans ? These are big decisions in a landscape that is changing every day that will have to be made.
For more on the situation, listen to Mariners CEO John Stanton’s interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy from Wednesday afternoon.