It’s official: There will be a 2020 MLB season
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The battle between the MLB and MLBPA over the 2020 MLB season has finally, officially, thankfully come to its merciful end.
After the MLBPA rejected the latest offer from the owners on Monday night, the MLB moved ahead with a unanimous vote to implement a 60-game season, and asked for the union to provide key information on a timeline and health and safety protocols by early Tuesday evening. The sides went beyond that MLB-imposed 5:30 p.m. deadline, but they agreed on the camp date, and solved the health and safety hurdle in front of them just hours later.
“All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps,” the MLBPA tweeted.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”
(Honestly, I was almost expecting all of their progress to be undone because Rob Manfred rejected Tony Clark’s Venmo request and refused to split the dinner bill evenly. It’s been that kind of multi-month nightmare for baseball fans just craving a return.)
But it’s indeed game on, and with a few tweaks to this year’s slate.
The biggest change, of course, is that aforementioned 60-game slate for the 2020 campaign. That’s a 102-game decrease from your normal baseball season (63 percent), and will feature a geographically-focused schedule that lessens the travel burden on every team. This means that the majority of a team’s schedule will come against divisional opponents, while interleague play contests will come against teams in the corresponding regional division. (For the Red Sox, that means more games against the N.L. East.)
In addition to the schedule (which the league expects to have finalized sometime within the next two days), the league will implement a universal designated hitter rule for the first time in league history. This will give National League squads an extra bat in their lineup, and prevent managers from having to get straight-up wacky with their switches when a pitcher is due up.
The league will also modify their extra innings rules for 2020, as each half-inning in extras will begin with a runner on second base until a team wins. According to the league, the runner placed on second base will be the player who made the last out of the previous inning, but the league will allow pinch-runners to run in their place. This rule was actually implemented at all levels of minor league baseball in 2019 as part of their pace of play rule changes.
With all hurdles cleared, the MLB will now prep for a July 1 start for training camp (and with teams training in their home parks and not their Spring Training facilities), and with Opening Day scheduled for July 23 or 24.