With just over two weeks of preparation remaining, Major League Baseball announced the full schedule for its shortened 2020 season, which will open with games in Washington and Los Angeles on Thursday, July 23 and feature each team playing a 60 game schedule.
The defending World Series champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees in the opening contest of a most unusual season, followed by a nightcap featuring the San Francisco Giants visiting Chavez Ravine and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The next day will see 14 contests as the season gets underway in earnest.
Fans will not be in attendance at the start of the season, which features a radically re-designed and regionalized approach to minimize travel. Teams will play ten games each against their divisional opponents, with the remaining third of the season played against interleague foes.
Hopes are that fans will be able to attend at least some games in some markets, depending on how coronavirus case rates are progressing on a case-by-case basis. “I do expect to see fans in our stadium at some point to some degree,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in an interview with YES Network. “And that’s going to be a great day as well.”
Earlier, MLB had issued a statement indicating that the season would open without any final decision made on fan attendance. “The commissioner has made no decisions regarding permitting fans at games,” the league said, in reaction to plans by the Texas Rangers to sell tickets up to the 25% capacity for live outdoor events that Gov. Greg Abbott had agreed to allow, prior to the recent spike in confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.” The decision will be based both on whether local health authorities approve fans to attend games and whether our medical advisors believe it is appropriate to do so.”
The schedule of play runs through September 27, with plans for playoffs to follow, assuming things go to plan.