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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

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Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
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.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.