MLB is hoping to start a shortened 2020 season in July — here’s how the season would look

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • Major League Baseball is still looking to salvage its 2020 season despite postponing opening day because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • League leaders hope to begin a shortened 82-game regular season early in July.
  • The postseason, which would begin in October, would feature games in home cities.
  • Team owners have already reached an agreement, but they still need to find a middle ground with players regarding safety precautions, pay deductions, and revenue splits.
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Summertime baseball may very well come to fruition.

Major League Baseball originally scheduled this year’s opening day for March 26, but the coronavirus pandemic put its plans – along with those of every other major sports league – on hold.

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

But now, MLB is inching ever closer to a contingency plan.

Owners from each of the league’s 30 teams agreed on a plan that would include a reduced 82-game regular season featuring regional schedules, universal designated hitters, and expanded rosters, according to CBS Sports. The postseason would include an additional two teams from each league – raising the total number of playoff teams to 14 – and would feature games played in home cities.

The league now hopes to begin play early in July after a renewed spring training that would begin in mid-June. But MLB still need to reach an agreement with its players, who have expressed concerns about both the physical safety and the financial ramifications of the proposed plan.

Under the current proposition for the season, players and the staff members who work closely with them would be subjected to “regular” COVID-19 tests and temperature checks. Spring-training rosters would be capped at 50 people, locker rooms would boast increased spacing, and the league would encourage distanced workouts via staggering to prevent unnecessary contact among athletes. MLB would urge players on the road to remain in their hotels and practice social distancing on their own, but they would be able to live in their houses while playing in their home markets.

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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The plan presented to the players union also includes a 50-50 revenue split between owners and players. But the players argue that they already agreed to pay cuts. Back in March, they made a deal for prorated salaries based on the number of games included in the season. The owners contend that said deal was contingent upon 2020 MLB games being played in front of fans, but not everyone interprets the agreement that way.

As of Thursday, the MLB Players Association was evaluating the league’s proposal. Shortly after receiving details of the plan, more than 100 players participated in a multi-hour video conference in which they provided feedback and asked questions about the logistics of playing under the given conditions.

The players are expected to negotiate with the league, but there is optimism on both sides that they can reach an agreement.