One of the many dominoes to fall during the coronavirus pandemic is the suspension of major sports leagues across the world. Major League Baseball (MLB) has not even began, as the pandemic rulings struck during Spring Training 2020. The question everyone is asking is simple: When will baseball season start? No one truly knows the answer, but here are the latest updates on when America’s pastime could resume play in 2020.
Sports Can Return in New Jersey, Says Governor Murphy
UPDATE: Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition – if their leagues choose to move in that direction. We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, and personnel. pic.twitter.com/yMrCFtSyqY
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 26, 2020
Another state is set to allow sports! New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy tweeted on Tuesday morning, May 26 that if “leagues choose to move in that direction”, the state will be available to have training and competition in the state. This would mean quite a few teams would be allowed to participate. What is interesting is teams in the nearby area may be able to use New Jersey as a place to play if their state does not allow. With that being said, New Jersey is just the latest state along a growing list that will allow professional sports leagues to resume without fans for the time being.
MLB Owners to Meet with Commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday May 26
BREAKING—@MLB owners sked 1pm meeting Tues w @RobManfred for new economic plan to be presented to @MLB_PLAYERS. Details sketchy on how owners will tweak 50 50 rev split for 2020 pandemic shortened season. That said we will know in days whether there will be a season @FoxBusiness
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) May 24, 2020
Is this one of the final hurdles? MLB owners have a 1 PM meeting with the commissioner of baseball, as they look to give the MLBPA an economic plan to resume baseball in 2020. This seems to be one of the final hurdles to the negotiations between the players and owners, but it is certainly a large one. With Memorial Day on May 25th, this meeting will certainly spur some news in the last week of May. Keep an eye on the news after the meeting concludes.
MLB Season to Start Soon? Momentum Grows After MLBPA Response
The MLBPA’s response should represent a step forward in negotiations with the league on striking a broader deal for baseball to return. While there remains a chasm with regards to pay, the shared interest of health and safety should provide groundwork for further discussions.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 21, 2020
With more and more states open to allowing professional sports teams to participate in games without fans, all of the attention is on the players and the league. Can the MLB and MLBPA come to an agreement so baseball can return to play soon? As Jeff Passan reported on twitter, this is a big step. Given that the players’ response has happened, the next step of negotiating can occur. Nothing is imminent, but it is clear that both sides would like to resume play as soon as possible for the 2020 MLB season.
MLB to Return in Three Phases When Ready
MLB is working under a 3 phase scenario for when they return:
Phase 1: Individual and small groups
Phase 2: Large group workouts/Intra-squad games
Phase 3: Spring training games https://t.co/LLa7OVWptB
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) May 20, 2020
Per Bobby Marks on Twitter, the MLB will be working a three-phase scenario that is consistent with other re-openings across the US. The first phase is individual and small groups, likely limited to players and some staff. Then will be large group workouts, which is the players and coaches and trainers. Finally, spring training will resume in the third phase. When the MLB is ready to return, these three steps and monitoring players will be the most essential part of the return to play. With states such as California, New York, and Texas set to allow pro sports in June, baseball returning is trending up!
States Allow Pro Sports to Return in June – Sports Return Soon?
— Action Rush (@ActionRushBets) May 18, 2020
Following New York, Texas and California will be many other states. These states are seen as “leaders” in many facets of industry, and when they decide to act one way, other states follow. This is great news for the return of sports. Arizona has already said they will allow sports, as will Florida. The good news continue to trickle in, as we could see sports return very soon in the US.
New York Sports to Come Back Soon?
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 18, 2020
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he has been encouraging the professional teams in the state of New York to “plan reopenings” without fans. While this seems obvious at this point, it is a clear intention that they expect for sports to resume sooner rather than later in the state of New York. When the ban is lifted for sports to resume, there seems to be a plan in the state of New York. This means the New York Mets and New York Yankees would be able to play at home in 2020 for the MLB season.
Upon Return, MLB Players Will Be Tested for COVID-19 Often
Manfred says players will be tested multiple times a week. Also, temp checks and symptom analysis.
A positive test won't necessarily lead to a 14 day quarantine for entire team.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) May 15, 2020
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on a release with the press that MLB players will be tested multiple times per week upon the MLB returning, which will also include temperature monitoring and other medical checks to ensure players do not experience symptoms. What is key from the Jesse Rogers tweet above is that a positive test will not mean a quarantine for the entire team, initially. This is a big part of the MLB returning, as it is of optimal importance to ensure the safety of the players, coaches, and staff while also preventing the spread of the virus.
Passan Reports Both Sides Want to Play in 2020
Nothing about MLB and the MLBPA’s talks Tuesday changed the calculus in any negotiation right now: Both parties have far too much to lose to allow something as solvable as money to wreck a season. Talked more about it with @Espngreeny on @GetUpESPN this morning. pic.twitter.com/YvrDcoVsMA
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 13, 2020
This tweet sums it up from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “Both parties have far too much to lose” is the truest statement throughout negotiations. With the understanding that a deal will get done at some point, that means we should have baseball in 2020. The problem is, will the states allow for baseball to be played at everyone’s home stadium? Will there be fans? Or will a neutral site like Arizona be the landing spot for the MLB in the short term? Time will tell.
Major League Baseball in Arizona? State Governor to Allow Major Sports
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has opened the door for professional sports to return to the state. https://t.co/8po5IvE3pv
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 13, 2020
Arizona is open for “major league sports” to return to play on May 16th, if desired. Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey announced changes to the states plan to re-open amidst coronavirus concerns with a bombshell of news that sports can be played without fans in Arizona on May 16th. Does this open the floodgates for the MLB to return in Arizona? Of course, the MLB and MLBPA would have to come to an agreement but we do know there are plenty of baseball stadiums in Arizona due to spring training facilities that would allow for a centralized location should the MLB resume. This is a major development for all sports to resume, but especially for Major League Baseball.
MLB Proposal to be Shot Down by Players?
MLB revenue-sharing plan is a nonstarter for the players’ association. Union head Tony Clark: “A system that restricts player pay based on revenues is a salary cap, period.” Story with @EvanDrellich: https://t.co/4TXrKHAMhF
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 11, 2020
Baseball has long been a sport without a salary cap. This is much different than counterparts like the NFL, NBA, and NHL, and it is why baseball salaries and contracts have risen to enormous heights in the last 15 years. Now during the pandemic, this will be quite a debate between the players and the owners, as the players see the MLB proposal as a salary cap. As Ken Rosenthal’s tweet says above, MLBPA union head Tony Clark says “A system that restricts player play based on revenues is a salary cap, period.” Is this a sign of bad things to come? Remember, the estimates are that the MLB would like to resume in June but collective bargaining has to be reached before then.
MLB Proposal Approved By Owners, In MLBPA Hands
MLB owners have approved a proposal for the 2020 season to present to the players’ union, source tells The Athletic. Meeting expected between union and league tomorrow.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 11, 2020
In the latest from the MLBPA and MLB’s “negotiating” for a MLB season resume, reports from Jeff Passan and ESPN have shown that the MLBPA board has health and compensation on the minds of players when baseball does in fact resume. St. Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller was quoted in the story talking about some worries the players have that include:
- If it is not safe for fans, why is it safe for players? There’s risk involved in this.
- If players are traveling, there is risk involved there as well.
In addition, a very interesting point that Miller makes is that because the MLB and MLBPA agreement involves no cap…the players are not tied to revenue like other leagues are. This is quite different, as there is a capitalistic manner of contracts and such despite league revenues decreasing during the pandemic.
With the MLB officially presenting a proposal to the players union, we should expect to see something soon.
MLB Teams Tell Players to Get Ready – Baseball Coming Soon?
Teams are telling players to get ready and get in shape. MLB is expected to send a return-to-play proposal to the union soon. The gears for baseball's return are starting to turn — but significant hurdles remain for it to become a reality. News at ESPN: https://t.co/fHiasxlS1A
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 7, 2020
The old saying is April showers bring May flowers. That certainly seems like a terrific metaphor for baseball’s prospects in early May, as positive momentum continues to roll in. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, Major League Baseball is expected to offer a proposal to the MLBPA, after the MLBPA union publicly stated they will need a plan. This does not mean it is official, but with MLB teams letting players know to get ready and get into shape, it is quite clear what the next step would be assuming all goes well. Could we see baseball in the summer of 2020? It is certainly looking promising.
MLBPA Union Needs a Formal Plan Before Baseball Resumes
The MLB union wants to see a formal plan before players safely return to the field during the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after the league leaked a proposal to restart the league as soon as late June and allow each team to play in their home ballpark.https://t.co/4sXEQszMJw
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) May 6, 2020
Not so fast, says the MLBPA. The NY Daily News reports that the MLBPA has reserves about a possible return to the field amidst coronavirus concerns. Essentially, there is a long way to go in terms of any negotiations or agreements to return to the field as each state varies by rules and even Canada (where the Blue Jays play) has to be taken into account as well. The initial plan proposed Opening Day in July, but will that be the case? No one knows yet, but the MLBPA has publicly stated they need to see a plan before anyone returns to the field.
Former MLB Player Trevor Plouffe Reports July 1st Opening Day?
POSSIBLE BIG NEWS: 2020 Baseball season rumor floating around from a former #MLB player…..
⚾️Spring Training II = June 10th
⚾️Opening Day: July 1sthttps://t.co/9aVpb4s0ib
— Action Rush (@ActionRushBets) May 4, 2020
The latest report from former MLB player Trevor Plouffe says that MLB spring training could “start” on June 10th, with Opening Day coming on July 1st and teams “playing at their home ballparks”. Other baseball media members have reported hearing the same thing, while others have reported there is nothing concrete. While it may not be confirmed, it provides a bit of potential good news that we could see baseball back soon!
— Bob Fescoe (@bobfescoe) May 4, 2020
Minor League Season Has NOT Been Cancelled Despite Unconfirmed Reports
Contrary to reports, Major League Baseball has not canceled the Minor League Baseball season, according to a league spokesman.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 29, 2020
On the evening of April 29th, there were a lot of unconfirmed reports about baseball cancelling the minor league season. Those reports are unconfirmed, and not true per Jeff Passan. Some unverified reports have gone across social media, but until it is confirmed by a big-name reporter there is no need to speculate. While it seems believable, the MiLB season has not been cancelled as of April 30th.
MLB Return Plan, Three Divisions, 100 Regular Season Games?
MLB discussing plan to start season with three 10-team divisions, and expanded postseason, with hopes of playing in own home stadiums this summer. https://t.co/aHeNftRZhj
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 28, 2020
The latest from MLB writer Bob Nightengale shows that baseball could be adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, which would allow for a 2020 season to start and end with 100 games plus the playoffs. The report from Nightengale says that the MLB is very optimistic that baseball will resume in late June or early July and we will see at least 100 games plus the playoffs. How would this all work? The proposal has three divisions with 10 teams each, focusing on regions. Of course, this would drastically improve the ability to follow state regulations as it pertains to the coronavirus, and helps the logistical nightmare that is scheduling a professional baseball league. Wondering how the divisions could look? Here’s a peak:
— Daily MLB Lineups (@DailyMLBLineup) April 29, 2020
Jeff Passan Reports MLB Agrees There WILL be Baseball in 2020
At this point, almost everyone involved with the process agrees: There will be baseball in 2020. The details are the tricky part.
At ESPN, 20 Questions dives into the details — when, where, how — with a comprehensive look at what and who are driving it: https://t.co/qJfGNLerLW
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 27, 2020
The latest from ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it is just a waiting game now, as there will be baseball in 2020. Directly from the ESPN article, Passan mentions that all involved with MLB decision-making have grown “increasingly optimistic” on baseball returning. This is certainly good news on the baseball front, but of course nothing is set in stone. Some states have reported wanting to wait very long, some have reported coming back soon in terms of full operations. Will baseball be played in specific areas in 2020? Time will tell, but good news in late April has certainly found its way through the baseball world.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Expects Baseball to Return in 2020
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred 'fully' expects baseball to return in 2020, report says https://t.co/KkmeTNK4AV
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) April 21, 2020
As ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported, baseball should return at some point in 2020! The direct quote from the MLB commissioner was “I fully anticipate baseball will return this season”. That is good news, as it comes after some teams reportedly will continue to pay their employees through the end of May. What’s interesting is some large market teams have not done so yet, but are expected to with the public pressure of smaller markets already taking care of their employees. When exactly will baseball return? No one truly knows, but when the leaders of baseball say they expect it to in 2020, that is great news.
New MLB Rules Proposed To Resume 2020 Baseball Season
In the latest from ESPN.com, the MLB and MLBPA have looked into an option that may allow for baseball to return as early as May in the state of Arizona. Some of the proposals seem crazy, but anything to have baseball back would be important to all parties involved. Some of these potential terms include:
- No mound visits.
- On-field microphones for TV viewers.
- Sitting in the stands six-feet apart, instead of in the player’s dugout.
- Two seven-inning games in a doubleheader, which would allow closer to a 162-game season.
A big one here also included an electronic strike zone, which would easily allow for better social distancing measures. There are many questions to be answered, but maybe this is a bit of good news in an otherwise bleak time.
California Doctor Says No Sports (MLB) Until Thanksgiving?
When California get back to normal? Well, officials in Santa Clara County (which has been ahead of the curve on coronavirus fight) dobuts “any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving." https://t.co/R6QvLE1GTA
— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) April 8, 2020
Things change very often in these trying times, and a California official in Santa Clara County is quoted in saying we may not see “any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving”. Of course, this is way later than other projections have indicated, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. If there is nothing until November, it is hard to anticipate there being a MLB season at all. Again, nothing is confirmed though.
When Will Major League Baseball Start? July 1?
Baseball is considering playing in empty spring training parks, with no fans and quarantined players. But the logistics of such a plan would be extremely complex, and perhaps insurmountable. Story: https://t.co/TphgvYsCrt
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 4, 2020
Using these stipulations, we can rule out when baseball could start. Condition one was no bans on mass gatherings. The US government advised to have those bans through the month of April, and most states have those bans until at least May 15th or longer. Per the news of Toronto banning all public events until June 30th, that effectively rules out the entire month of June for baseball season to resume. Unless this is changed, that means the earliest we can expect baseball season to resume is July 1st, 2020. The latest rumors have shown that baseball could begin on July 1st, and continue into the winter months if need be.
Major League Baseball Wanted to Start in June
As March went on, there was speculation of MLB returning in June 2020. In late March, the MLB and MLBPA agreed to a deal that would settle issues such as service time and others. This gave the indication that baseball would not resume anytime soon given the discussions on whether or not players would still become free agents and such. Players and owners had loose expectations that baseball may resume in June 2020, even it meant playing in empty stadiums. At least there would be television revenue, in this example.
With that optimism, the MLB had not canceled the London Series between the Cardinals and Cubs, which was set to take place in June.
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) April 1, 2020
As of April 1st, it was no April Fools joke but the MLB canceled the 2020 London Series that was set to take place in June. This certainly is not good news, as it indicates baseball may not be played in June either. Does this mean a July start is inevitable?
MLB is discussing a 100-game regular season that would begin July 1, include no All-Star Game and end with a November World Series at Dodger Stadium. https://t.co/xoCWdoV377
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) April 2, 2020
MLB and MLBPA Agree on 2020 Season Resume Conditions
The players and league agreed the 2020 MLB season won't begin until:
– There are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans*
– There are no travel restrictions
– Medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
This was a very key piece of news in the MLB season resumption saga, as it gave clear guidelines to when baseball could possibly return. There are three main stipulations that were agreed to here, which are:
- No bans on mass gatherings
- No travel restrictions in the US and Canada
- Medical experts were sure that games were not risking staff, players, or fans.
The one caveat was that this still allowed for the league and players to agree on playing in empty stadiums, if it came to that. These restrictions are very straightforward, and we can read between the lines in order to find out when baseball season could return.
MLB Delays Start of Season by Two Weeks (3/12/20)
2020 Opening Day to be delayed by at least two weeks; Spring Training Games cancelled beginning today; and @WBCBaseball Qualifier games postponed indefinitely due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. pic.twitter.com/yCgUHkdfpF
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 12, 2020
On March 12th, Major League Baseball announced that spring training games were canceled and the regular season was to be delayed by at least two weeks. Given the MLB regular season was scheduled to start on March 26th, a two week delay would have put Opening Day into the beginning of April. This was just the beginning of the outbreak however, and the key words in this release are “at least”. As more and more leagues began to suspend their seasons, baseball had to react accordingly and alongside public officials recommendations and others. Remember, baseball is involved with a lot of businesses, cities, logistics, and even travel to Canada, London, and others.
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