The 2020 MLB season could start in early July according to a plan approved by team owners, outlets like ESPN and the Associated Press report. Owners are said to present the plan to the MLB Players Association Tuesday for approval in hopes of launching the season after a months-long delay.
Highlights of the proposed plan are said to include a truncated season of only 82 games and an expanded playoff field of 14 teams rather than 10. Teams would be able to play in their home ballparks provided that they have the support of their local government and games would therefore be scheduled by the geographic location of teams in an effort to limit travel.
Fans would reportedly not be admitted into games which presents a larger issue of revenue loss and player agreements. The players union already agreed to accept a prorated salary back in March based on the amount of games played this season. Now, the league is reportedly set to present a 50-50 revenue split between owners and players expected to spark heated negotiations and may ultimately decide if there will be a 2020 season after all.
Another crucial aspect to come into consideration for the players is health protocols. Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle expressed his concerns over health and safety in a lengthy Twitter thread Monday night that touched on COVID-19 testing, long-term complications from the virus, those with pre-existing conditions put at risk and more.
“So how many tests do we need to safely play during a pandemic? And not just tests for players. Baseball requires a massive workforce besides the players; coaches, clubhouse staff, security, grounds crews, umpires, gameday stadium staff, TV & media…we need to protect everyone,” he tweeted.
Should this plan get a stamp of approval from the players, a training period would commence in June and bring baseball back to the forefront in time for the July Fourth weekend.