MLB players agree to report for 60-game 2020 season; Opening Day to be set for July 24
The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league Tuesday that players will comply with the league’s imposed outline for a 2020 season. Players will report for another version of “spring” training on July 1, and the league’s imposed 60-game season will start July 24, CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden reported Tuesday. The two sides are still working to finalize health and safety protocols, per Bowden, and there has not yet been an official announcement from the league.
MLB owners voted unanimously Monday night to have commissioner Rob Manfred impose a season. In a statement, Manfred had requested on Monday night that the players respond by 5 p.m. ET so that the league could proceed with scheduling that imposed season.
The league and players failed to reach a modified agreement for a 2020 season after weeks of negotiations. Those talks stalled when it came to the length of the season and the financial compensation players would receive. The union’s ability to file a grievance against the league, which could result in a substantial cash windfall, also became a matter of importance later in the talks.
The league is expected to wrap up its regular season by the end of September and its postseason — which will feature its usual, 10 teams — by the end of October.
Originally, the league had submitted a 67-page proposal outlining all the safety and testing protocols that would be installed this season. Little else had been leaked about negotiations concerning those regulations, though the two sides were suggested to be closer than not, with the league bending to players’ requests for greater access to medical and training equipment.
It’s worth noting that 40 MLB players and staff members reportedly testing positive for the novel coronavirus in recent days. MLB has reportedly ordered all spring training sites to be closed and sanitized, and personnel must test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to return.
MLB was supposed to launch its regular season on March 26. The spread of COVID-19 forced the league to pause those plans about two weeks beforehand.