DETROIT – Major League Baseball will officially return for a 60-game season, with players reporting to spring training next week and Opening Day in late July.
The MLB Players Association announced at 8:41 p.m. Tuesday that all necessary issues have been resolved between the players and the owners to move forward with a mandated season.
MLB then released the following statement:
“Commissioner of baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that Major League Baseball anticipates beginning its 2020 regular season approximately one month from today, on July 23 or July 24.
“The announcement follows confirmation today that the MLB Players Association has accepted the health and safety protocols that will guide MLB’s return to play and that players will be able to report for training by July 1. The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.
“MLB has submitted a 60-game regular season schedule for review by the Players Association. The proposal schedule will largely feature divisional play, with the remaining portion of each club’s games against their opposite league’s corresponding geographical division, in order to mitigate travel. The vast majority of Major League clubs are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities.”
Manfred had to mandate a shortened seasons after the two sides failed to reach an agreement throughout three months of bickering.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” Manfred said in a statement. “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.”
Here are previous stories on the contentious negotiations:
- Why is MLB season in jeopardy? Breaking down all that’s happened between players and owners
- Where MLB negotiations between players, owners stand as clock ticks to reach deal
The MLBPA said players will report to training camp, referring to a second spring training period. The first round spring training was cut short March 12, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut down all major sporting leagues.
According to multiple reports, players will report by July 1, spring training will begin July 3 and Opening Day will finally roll around on July 23 or July 24.
The teams will play 60 games over 66 days, with the regular season ending Sept. 27, according to reports.
There’s still time for the two sides to negotiate specifics, but for now, it appears the playoff format is the same as usual, with five teams making it from each league and the two wildcard teams playing one game to make the divisional round.
Both leagues will use a designated hitter to allow National League pitchers to focus on pitching, as they have a much shorter time to prepare for a sprint of a season.
There will reportedly be a trade deadline Aug. 31 -- one month later than usual and about halfway into the shortened season.
Jon Heyman, of MLB Network, reports teams will play 40 divisional games and 20 games against the corresponding geographical division in the opposite league. So the Detroit Tigers would play 10 games each against the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins and an average of four games each against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds.