According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball owners have approved a proposal to start the 2020 season in July.
More work still needs to be done though, as the proposal, which calls for as many teams as possible playing in their home ballparks, will need to be approved by the MLB Players Association.
MLB owners have approved a proposal for the 2020 season to present to the players’ union, source tells The Athletic. Meeting expected between union and league tomorrow.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 11, 2020
A report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan says that both the owners and players expect a “contentious negotiation,” with concerns not only about how to keep everyone healthy.
Owners want a 50/50 split in revenues, while players are expected to point to an agreement back in March that prorated salaries would be implemented. That agreement, however, likely didn’t factor in that games would be played entirely in empty stadiums.
Baseball values tradition more than most other sports, but there won’t be much that is traditional about this season, if the reported plan comes to fruition.
The plan, according to ESPN, includes an 82-game regular season, a designated hitter for both American and National League teams, and a geographical schedule with teams playing only in-division opponents and interleague opponents of the same region (ie. AL East and NL East teams would play each other).
Spring training would take place in June, without games, while teams would carry 30 players on their roster with an additional 20 players available, as minor league seasons are expected to be cancelled.
Instead of 10 teams qualifying for the postseason, 14 teams would make the playoffs.
Home stadiums would only be used for teams in states that allow games to be played. Other teams would play home games at their spring training facilities in Florida or Arizona.
Given the cross-border requirement to quarantine for 14 days, the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to play all of their games south of the border at their facility in Dunedin, Florida.
“[Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro] called me only to tell me they were in the very early stages of some discussions that could see teams play baseball somewhere,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said today. “He did say at that time that the likely contemplation was if the team was to resume training, that would happen at their training facility in Dunedin.
“We briefly discussed that that was at a very early stage and we discussed the complication that exists for all of our sports teams — of the border and the quarantine requirements that are presently in place.”