Last Monday, Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead to make the proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.
Fast forward to today, with most parts of the plan reportedly being approved, there is still one part of the plan that has not been approved: player salaries. Back in March, the players agreed to pro-rated salaries, based on the number of games that would be played. The owners would like the players to give up more, saying that they will lose even more money without fans in the stands, something that is likely to happen in many, if not all of the stadiums when the season begins.
The high-stakes poker game with our national past time continues. It seems almost unthinkable that an economic dispute might prevent a season from occurring. Both parties are waiting for their bluff to be called. In the meantime, well-paid ballplayers arguing money with their rich owners during a pandemic is not a good look for baseball.
Here is a snapshot of what the non-financial parts of the plan look like:
Spring training would start in early to mid-June. Each team would play about 82 regular-season games: against opponents in its own division plus interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West. The postseason would be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four.
BREAKING: Major League Baseball owners OK a proposal that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 11, 2020
While teams would prefer to play in their home stadiums, they still must abide by any or all governmental guidelines that are in place. The first impact of this could happen for the Toronto Blue Jays, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that any player entering Canada would have to comply with their 14-day quarantine guideline. The mayor of Toronto has recently stated that he does not expect sports to be played in his town until Fall. The Blue Jays will more than likely have to play most of their games at their spring training site in Florida.
A massive amount of safety protocols have been set up. The Downtown Sports Network detailed this lengthy plan in an earlier article, that you can look at here.
Rosters would be expanded from 26 to around 30. With the minor leagues likely closing for the year, there will likely be the addition of about 20 players per club akin to the NFL’s practice squad. There would also be a universal DH.
The clock is ticking as most experts believe that the deadline to reach a new agreement if the season is to begin in early July, would probably be around June 1.
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