Folks, the national nightmare could actually be over. After a herky-jerky Monday that saw the MLBPA resoundingly reject the latest proposal from league owners for a 2020 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to move ahead unilaterally and institute a roadmap that includes 60 regular season games.
As far as start dates, it all comes down to how fast players will be able to report to their teams. As it stands, the league is aiming to resume Spring Training activities on July 1, with Opening Day coming just over three weeks later, notes insider Bob Nightengale.
Play Ball! MLB will play 60-game schedule in 2020, with spring training on July 1 and the season starting July 24-27. https://t.co/MskY8fG0ca
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 23, 2020
The MLBPA was insistent that 60 games wasn’t enough, but notably, skeptics feared that Manfred would exercise a nuclear option to the tune of approximately 50 games. That crisis has been averted.
The commissioner’s working blueprint is the March 26 agreement between players and owners. Notably, players will receive full prorated pay — and you had better bet that the universal designated hitter is going to be a thing, too.
Major League Baseball issued the following statement earlier tonight: pic.twitter.com/mnzddKQUCC
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) June 23, 2020
There’s still work to be done, as it very much still takes two to tango. The players have a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday to inform the MLB as to whether or not players are able to report for resumed Spring Training in time for the start of July. Additionally, both parties formally reach an understanding on health and safety measures related to COVID-19 testing, social distancing, and quarantine procedures.
Indeed, it’s not quite safe to announce that baseball is “officially” back. But we’re suddenly closer than we’ve been in a good couple of months, and that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t necessarily an oncoming train.