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Report: Maryland’s Larry Hogan says governors ‘will be the determining factor’ in return of sports

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told ESPN that the decision over whether baseball will return to Camden Yards this summer rests in his hands.

In a report detailing the challenges facing Major League Baseball as the sport prepares for a potential restart this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hogan cited the Maryland Stadium Authority’s ownership of Oriole Park and the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium in describing himself as “the largest sports landlord here in our region.”

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"We own Camden Yards,” Hogan told ESPN. “We own M&T [Bank] Stadium for the Ravens. So I'm the largest sports landlord here in our region. We, the governors of all the states, whether they own the facilities or not, will be the determining factor as to whether or not they are allowed to play sports."

At a news conference Tuesday, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young expressed the importance of following health experts’ guidance in making any decisions about the return of sports or other large events.

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“I’m hoping that we can have baseball games and concerts again," Young said. "But right now, we’re following the direction of the health professionals and data to drive all of that.”

MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association are negotiating the potential start of a season even as the coronavirus remains prevalent. Tuesday, Maryland announced a single-day high for new cases.

The league’s plan, according to reports from ESPN and other outlets, includes that players will not be allowed to spit and recommends that they not shower at the ballpark. Players will be tested for the virus numerous times a week as part of the plan, which features several social-distancing guidelines. Initially, fans will be unable to attend games.

The plan reportedly does not require that if a player becomes infected, all of the other players who came in contact with him must be quarantined for at least 14 days, as per Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Hogan, a Republican who serves as the chairman of the National Governors Association, told ESPN he doubts the league will be able to navigate even a shortened season without any players testing positive.

"It's very likely that, no matter what kind of safety protocols they put in place, that some players are going to be infected," Hogan said.

MLB has been shut down since March 13, when the league announced it was suspending the rest of spring training and delaying the start of the regular season at least two weeks. A week from Tuesday marks two months from the day the Orioles were scheduled to begin the 2020 season against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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