Nolan Ryan stands outside the new $1.2 billion Texas Rangers ballpark outside Dallas, which has been completed but not opened. Photo: Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP

Major League Baseball sees midsummer as the likely best case for opening the season, probably with no fans in the stands, sources tell me.

The state of play: In the hope that opening over the Fourth of July holiday weekend might be feasible, some executives are considering the tagline: "America's game is back on America's birthday."

One scenario calls for a few weeks of "spring training" in June, ahead of a shortened season.

  • USA Today's Bob Nightengale, who tends to have good sources, reports that MLB officials "have become cautiously optimistic this week that the season will start in late June, and no later than July 2."

Nothing is decided, and you'll hear all kinds of possibilities floated by the league, players, agents and broadcasters. But I'm told that given the expectation that the games will be closed to fans, it makes sense to use as few ballparks as possible.

  • One idea is to base all the teams in Phoenix. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has said his state is willing to host all 30 MLB teams when public health allows.
  • There's also talk of grouping teams in Arizona, Texas and Florida, depending on health conditions, AP Baseball Writer Stephen Hawkins reports.

Go deeper: Baseball's uncertain future

Go deeper

Aug 6, 2020 - Sports

6 teams are vying for the last playoff spot in the NBA's Western Conference

The Suns have won all three seeding games, capped off by Devin Booker's game-winner Tuesday night. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The race for eighth in the NBA's Western Conference is heating up, and with the playoffs just 11 days away, we're all but guaranteed to see the first-ever postseason play-in game.

How it works: A play-in game will only occur if the eighth and ninth seeds are within four games of each other when the regular season concludes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,648,084 — Total deaths: 727,024 — Total recoveries — 11,941,723Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,998,105 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
Updated 4 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.