Major League Baseball in the US has had an intense couple of years, but thankfully now the MLB has agreed with players to have a 60 game season. It has needed to manage significantly tricky embarrassments – some of which, despite everything, still haven’t been settled – and the loss of its normal timetable when the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close down just as Opening Day was about to be held.

To top it all off, there has been an explicit negligence of energy for baseball, in exchange for the love of money, that drove team owners and players to go through more than two months trying to arrange a way to get back on the field. After unfit (or reluctant) to agree, the two sides permitted Commissioner Rob Manfred to intercede and, to the astonishment of numerous baseball fans, players and owners have now kissed and made up. MLB is returning and could be here inside a month.

MLB’s Back With 60 Game Season!

Manfred concluded that 60 games would be sufficient to consider it a MLB season, clarifying in an announcement on Monday, “Major League Baseball is excited to declare that the 2020 season is not too far off. We have furnished the Players Association with a timetable to play 60 games and are eager to give our incredible fans Baseball again soon.” The union approved the plan yesterday, and players are relied upon to start preparing by July 1.

Teams will play an aggregate of 40 games against division rivals, as well as 20 interleague games. 30 players will be selected to the active lineup, and MLB teams can submit 60-men rosters for this 60 game season. As indicated by Mark Feinsand with MLB.com, the 30-man setup will be cut to 28 following fourteen days and afterward again to 26 after Week Four. Likewise, there will be a designated hitter for the whole league and, if a game goes into extra innings, a baserunner will appear at second base at each half-inning.

This is to try to accelerate the game, putting a player from each team into scoring position.  In addition, high fives and spitting – staples of MLB – are now prohibited.

Spring Training 2.0 Right Around The Corner

The plan currently is to have Spring Training 2.0 start on July 1, with the season launching on July 23 or 24. The timetable was established after owners and players agreed on an assortment of safety and health issues, for which MLB clarifies, “The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.”

Those measures will be a higher priority than any time in recent memory. Over the previous week, as indicated by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, 40 MLB players and workers have popped positive for the coronavirus.  Alongside the spikes that have been found in urban areas the nation over, there is developing worry over a significant resurgence of COVID-19. Meanwhile, MLB has advised all spring training facilities to shut down and start sanitizing everything. Pushing ahead, no player or employee will be permitted to return to work except if a negative outcome on a coronavirus test is produced.

It’s Great News, But…

Seeing MLB make a return, even with just a 60 game season, is awesome.  This brings a lot of sports action back to life, joined by the NBA and the NHL, as well as the potential September launch of the NFL.  However, without wanting to be a buzzkill, there is still a little bit of wiggle room for MLB’s season to be canceled.  Players were never too enthusiastic of playing a season that saw a major reduction in games, and the current coronavirus spikes are causing some concerns.  It’s possible – although highly unlikely – that players could start to sit out.  It’s probably not a bet worth taking, especially since the player response to the news has been overwhelmingly supportive, but the pending relaunch requires a delicate approach.