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When will Mariners baseball return to T-Mobile Park?

It could be awhile before large gatherings return to the U.S. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

In a perfect, non-COVID year, the Mariners would have just wrapped up a series sweep of the Tigers at home yesterday, before heading out for an east coast trip to Washington, D.C., and New York.

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But as we know, the Mariners aren’t playing right now. So, what is the prognosis for baseball this year?

I think the crack of a bat, even in an empty stadium, would go a long way to helping the American psyche right now. It would give us just a little bit of normal, even if you’re not a baseball fan.

Mariners’ insider Shannon Drayer said Major League Baseball wants to get back on the field in July.

“I think July 4th is the date, ideally, they would like, which would require at least three weeks of spring training, which would start in June,” she said.

The plan is to have those games at the regular stadiums, not just in Arizona or Florida, which had been one of the early plans.

The owners and players are still fighting over the details, including how much the players would be paid. They’ve already given up half of their salary, and are balking at revenue-sharing.

There are also concerns about social distancing, mask-wearing, fans, and sanitation.

“I think we will probably be looking at a couple more weeks of negotiations between the two sides so they can get a plan in place, should they be given the all-clear and hopefully be able to start training in June,” Drayer said.

This prolonged shutdown has given Drayer a lot more time to get to know the players. Other than their salaries and talents, she says they are a lot like the rest of us.

“I talk to them about home-schooling, talk to them about creative ways to work out when they don’t have all the facilities that they normally would have, and what they’ve gotten into in their spare time,” she said.

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For fans waiting for a chance to hit T-Mobile Park for a game, you really need to be paying attention to what’s happening in Taiwan and South Korea. Both are providing the blueprint, and currently have their professional leagues up and running.

“Taiwan is ready to start admitting 2,000 fans per game,” Drayer said. “They’re going to let families sit together. They are going to have boxed meals that are provided.”

So, watch that closely.

And if there is baseball this season, this could be the Mariners’ year.

“In an 81 game season or an 82 game season, I think absolutely anything can happen,” she said.

Remember that hot start last year? And let’s face it: There would be nothing more Mariners than winning the World Series with no fans in the stands.

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