Tomorrow might be the most important day in the recent history of baseball. It’s the day MLB owners will hand over to players a proposal for how they envision the rest of the 2020 season playing out, with a lot of strings attached. The plan is anything but an out-of-the-park homerun, but it might be a step in the right direction as we understand that the MLB are planning to start in July.
(Don’t) Take Me Out To The Ballgame
If players agree to the terms of the proposal, MLB baseball could get started on or near a very poignant date – July 4. That’s according to what sources are telling the Associated Press, adding that games would almost certainly be played in parks completely devoid of any fan participation. Additionally, the designated hitter would become much more active, expanding into the National League for the season.
It wouldn’t be possible to have any games played if players couldn’t return to practice, so the owners propose holding Spring Training 2.0 starting sometime early next month. There would then be, once the season starts, 82 regular season games, the majority of which would be interdivisional matchups. The post-season race for the Pennant would include an expansion to 14 teams, up from the current ten, which would be facilitated by the inclusion of twice as many wild card spots in each league. The All-Star game, which was scheduled for July 14, would be nixed.
Location, Location, Location
It goes without saying that teams would prefer to play their games on their own turf; however, COVID-19 isn’t going to allow for anything normal this year. As a result, all sorts of adjustments need to be made, and real baseball players shouldn’t mind where they play – athletes should be able to adapt no matter what.
With that in mind, teams would most likely play games at spring training stadiums or approved neural sites if local governments don’t allow home games. As far as the northern neighbor, the Toronto Blue Jays would probably call Dunedin, FL their temporary new home.
One point that is almost certain to cause a lot of grief is pay. Show me the money is going to take on an entirely new meaning because of the coronavirus, and players are going to most likely be looking for a 50-50 split on any revenue during the newly-redesigned season. Initially, league owners had agreed to continue offering a salary for players – at a reduced amount, of course – while everyone waited for baseball to get going again. It seemed, at the time, to be a generous offer, but owners didn’t expect things to drag out so long.
As a result, the owners don’t want to give players any more money than absolutely necessary, which is going to be a considerably lower amount of no fans are allowed to attend the games. At this point, fan-less ballparks are the only options, and the battle could come down to seeing whoever can go the longest without blinking. With Spring Training 2.0 right around the corner, at least according to the new plan, there’s a lot to do in a very short amount of time.
MLB Is Relatively Clean Of The Coronavirus
A couple of months ago, researchers sent out an emergency signal to all major sports leagues, looking for some help in a study on the coronavirus. MLB was the first to step up to bat and participate, and the results of the research have finally been revealed. Of the 5,754 league employees and players who were tested, only 60 showed signs of the coronavirus antibodies. This was much lower than other studies found, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University who conducted the study, explains, “I was expecting a larger number. It shows the value of doing the science as opposed to guessing. The results indicated the presence of COVID-19 in just 0.7% of the MLB population.