CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’d “consider” a plan from Major League Baseball to play games this summer — but only if it can be done safely.
The league’s owners approved a proposal Monday suggesting games could start in early July, though the proposal still needs to be approved by players. Lightfoot, a known White Sox fan, said her highest priority was safety.
“I can’t predict where we’re gonna be in July,” she said Tuesday morning. “I’m not gonna support something that puts people at risk, and I certainly don’t think we’re gonna be ready in July for having large crowds in a ballfield.
“If we can do it and do it safely, that’s something we’d certainly consider.”
The proposal is still vague, but some have suggested games could be held without fans or with very few fans to lower the risk of coronavirus spreading.
Korea and Taiwan’s baseball leagues have been playing games without fans, instead asking supporters to watch on TV or online.
Lightfoot said MLB and local teams — in Chicago’s case, the Sox and Cubs — will have to coordinate with city officials to figure out how to safely host games.
“There needs to be conversations at the city level and not just from on high at the MLB level, and I’m confident we’ll have appropriate conversations well in advance of any efforts to restart the baseball season — or start the baseball season, I should say,” Lightfoot said.
Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker said he wants to get professional sports going, but he doubts people will be able to watch in person for some time in Illinois.
“I want to get sports up and going. I think people need this as an outlet. No, it won’t be in person, at least not in the next month or two,” Pritzker said at a Thursday press conference. “But I think it’s very important for everybody’s psyche. We have some terrific sports fans all across the state of Illinois who want to see this up and running.”
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