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Cactus Leagues execs want spring training start dates delayed

The Giants are looking at a February 15th report date for pitchers and catchers. We break down the latest news as MLB addresses COVID-19.

An overall view of the 2018 Cactus League logo at Surprise Stadium prior to the spring training game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals on February 24, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Major League Baseball spring training is fast approaching if things remain on schedule, but there is still the potential for a delay to start dates. The executive director of the Cactus League submitted a letter to MLB signed by nine local community leaders — six mayors, two city managers, and the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community President — asking for a delay to the start of spring training.

The letter raised concerns about the rising rate of COVID-19 in Maricopa County, which is the primary home of the Cactus League. The letter points to University of Washington research which projects “a sharp decline [in infections] in Arizona by mid-March.”

This all comes as the San Francisco Giants became the first Cactus League team to announce a report date for pitchers and catchers. Team president Larry Baer released a letter in which he said MLB had announced a February 15th report date for spring training. It would appear to be specific to the Giants, but it’s not entirely clear with no other teams announcing anything as of this article publishing.

For the time being, the 2021 MLB regular season is scheduled to get underway on April 1st. The owners and players are still negotiating the terms and conditions for the 2021 season. That needs to be finalized before play can begin.