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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