“All remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to training camps.”
And with those words by Commissioner Rob Manfred, the framework had been laid for the 2020 baseball season.
I was very skeptical that any kind of deal would get done after last weekends negotiations went nowhere. But here we are and it will be good to get back to talking about the game of baseball instead of the listening to the arguing between the players and owners.
Even with this agreement, the Players Association has given every indication it will file a grievance accusing the league of failing to make a good faith effort to play as long a season as possible.
But at least we will have baseball. Baseball will still have the honor of being the first of the four major sports to start as they will begin July 24th. The NHL re-starts their season on July 30th, and the NBA season will start on July 31st.
It will be a 60 game season starting July 24th and ending on September 27th. This will be the shortest season in MLB history.
There will be no added teams to the playoffs. There had been some talk during the previous negotiations that we could see the playoffs expanded to eight teams, but that is not going to happen.
Training camps will begin on July 1st, and each team will be allowed to bring 60 players to camp.
There will be some rule changes for this season.
-The DH will be used in both the American and National leagues.
-The rosters will be maxed out to allow for 30 players for the first 15 days of the season, then 28 players for the next 15 days before settling at 26 players for the remainder of the season.
-Each team will be allowed to have a taxi squad of 20 players as there may be a greater chance of injuries this season.
-Any games that start, but are stopped by weather, will now be considered suspended games. The games will resume at the point where they were stopped.
Another big difference will be in the extra-inning games as the innings will start with a runner on second base.
The teams will play games in their division and geographically. The Rays will play 10 games each against Toronto, Boston, New York, and Baltimore. They will play four games each against the National League East teams the New York Mets, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, and the Miami Marlins.
The safety of the players and every team attendant will be of the utmost importance, and MLB has implemented numerous safety protocols.
Everyone with the team, players, attendants, trainers, therapists, and coaches, will have saliva tests every other day. There will also be testing done multiple times per week. Results will be available within about 24 hours. Once per month, everyone will have antibody tests.
This will be a season like no other. There will be asterisks everywhere. But there should be an asterisk beside the year 2020 in any historical context. This has been a year like no other.
In 30 days we will hear the sound of the bat hitting the ball. Even if it is in an empty stadium that will be a good thing.