Early this afternoon, national baseball writer Robert Murray, who currently writes for FanSided, tweeted this interesting information:
The MLBPA has organized a “fully staffed” stadium and facility for players to train in Mesa, AZ, according to sources familiar with the situation.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 28, 2022
Well. Obviously it couldn’t be Sloan Park or HoHoKam Stadium as those are both MLB facilities which are currently in use for training of minor league players. Plus, with a lockout in place there’s no way MLB teams would allow the MLBPA to use it.
I asked Murray in the Twitter replies if Bell Bank Park, a new sports facility in east Mesa with eight baseball fields (you can see them at the left of the image at the top of this post), was the facility, and he confirmed that it was.
You can read more about Bell Bank Park at the link, but in addition to the baseball fields it has soccer fields, basketball courts, a 1,500-seat stadium for beach volleyball and other sports facilities. It’s brand new this year and will provide plenty of places for MLBPA members to train. And, according to Murray:
There is interest in creating a similar facility in Florida, sources said. Said one source: “That could be next-level negotiating (I doubt it) or a sign of what they expect to happen.”
It wouldn’t seem like players would do this unless they were fairly certain that spring training camps weren’t going to open any time soon. Or, perhaps they just want to take care of any possible contingencies.
Bell Bank Park is located in southeast Mesa, near the Mesa/Gateway Airport. It’s unclear if any player workouts there would be open to fans to watch.
I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything further, and will update you on labor negotiations if there’s anything to tell later tonight.