Baseball by July 1? Two former Twins say it’s possible

Target Field. Photo credit: Greg Kellogg ( Greg Kellogg/FOX 9 photojournalist )

We all miss live sports and we especially miss baseball here in Minnesota. So when a pair of former Twins players took to social media with baseball news on Monday, it got us all excited.

Veteran Trevor Plouffe, who last played with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018 and spent his first seven seasons with the Twins, posted on Twitter Monday that according to his sources, Major League Baseball hopes to resume Spring Training on June 10. The regular season would start as early as the first week of July in MLB ballparks, and it would likely have to be without fans attending.

Starting pitcher Phil Hughes, who was with the Twins from 2014-17, posted to social media that he has heard the same.

That news matches a report from Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, but he also says it’s all a guess pending on what transpires the next several weeks with Covid-19.

Since, plenty of theories have been discussed about how to restart Spring Training and get some form of a season going, even if it has to be condensed. One plan had every MLB team traveling to Arizona, being quarantined to hotels and specific ballparks and playing without fans. Another had baseball teams traveling to Arizona, Florida and Texas, and realigning divisions to maximize a schedule.

There’s nothing more that Twins fans want than to see the hometown nine back in action. It was the middle of March when suddenly, MLB shutdown all Spring Training games and activities, and players were sent home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Optimism surrounding the Twins might have hit an all-time high this offseason. They’re coming off winning 101 games, winning the American League Central Division title and having Rocco Baldelli win AL Manager of the Year after his inaugural season. That, and they added third baseman and slugger Josh Donaldson in free agency.

The latest developments tell us that while nothing is certain or set in stone, there’s at least potentially a plan in place to start Spring Training within about a month. The problem for the Twins becomes if the season starts in July and the regular season extends into November, what do they do about potential home playoff games? Postseason baseball at Target Field in November or December isn’t feasible, but that’s just one of several wrinkles that have to be figured out in the next month.

While the possibility exists that the Twins could be playing at Target Field in July, it wouldn't be the same. The ballpark would be empty, except for the team and essential personnel. There would be no beer flowing, no hot dogs or peanuts. There wouldn't be fans. Baseball just isn't the same without a live audience, like most other sports, but it might be the only option if there's any chance of salvaging a season.

There’s also the main priority: Trying to get back to live sports, while keeping everybody healthy and safe.