98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
Nobody knows when the 2020 MLB season will begin. If it ever does, actually. But on Friday, the league and its players agreed on what needs to be happen before anybody takes the field for Opening Day, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Per Passan, three key things need to happen before baseball gets back to business as usual.
The No. 1 thing that needs to change is the ban on mass gatherings that would prevent teams from playing in front of people. It seems like both parties want games to go on in front of fans, though there seems to be a possibility of teams playing neutral-site games if absolutely necessary. Another obstacle that needs to be overcome for baseball to return? The travel restrictions in both the United States and Canada. Many cities currently have shelter-in-place orders (or are trending towards just that), which makes the idea of sending teams to different cities just impossible.
Lastly — and perhaps most importantly — Passan noted that there would need to be no health risks for players, staff, or fans involved in these games.
The agreement between the parties — which included more than just this big three musts for a return to normalcy, such as service time and draft picks — will also include a transaction freeze. That means teams will be unable to sign free agents, make trades, or make any sort of other roster-related moves while the baseball world remains in a shutdown.
Baseball, which pushed back Opening Day ‘indefinitely’ on Mar. 16, currently has three confirmed cases of COVID-19, with two players from the Yankees organization and a Red Sox minor leaguer all coronavirus confirmed.