America’s pastime is back, as Major League Baseball became the latest sport to announce its return to action. Earlier this week, MLB and the MLBPA announced there would be a shortened, 60-game regular season. This is terrific news and is news most fans welcomed after the owners did everything in their power to mess this up.
Sure, a lot of their tactics are infuriating and generated a lot of bad faith with the players, just a year before both sides will be negotiating again, likely leading to a stoppage down the road. But, that’s down the road! For now, we will have baseball again.
Baseball. Is. Back. 👏
MLB training camps will open July 1 in preparation for a 60-game season. pic.twitter.com/mUygDEOGD5
— ESPN (@espn) June 24, 2020
And, like most pro sports, things will look a little different. For instance, if you get within six feet of an umpire to argue a call, that manager is immediately suspended. Each team is going to play 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games in their same region (to cut down on travel and virus spread, the Midwest teams will be playing the NL and AL teams in the Midwest, etc etc).
“Spring training” will start July 1st for teams so players can get into game shape, with the regular season starting July 24th. Chief among rule changes is the universal DH (no more pitchers taking their cuts at the plate) and an extra-inning rule that will include starting innings with a baserunner on second.
mood for all baseball fans today. pic.twitter.com/mLgSkxQ23G
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 24, 2020
The league is lifting the transaction freeze, and the traditional end of July trade deadline gets pushed back to August 31st.
One of the weirder developments immediately noted by most analysts, the agreement includes for the city of Nashville to host two teams of unsigned players as potential replacement players. There’s still a lot up in the air, but with teams lacking a functioning minor league system, there needs to be somewhere to go in a pinch.
Teams may also be forced to play their home games elsewhere if their home city becomes a COVID hotspot.
Still, it’s going to be awesome to have a baseball season. Especially a compressed, 60-game season, as it’s going to heighten the importance and tension of every game. Great for fans (better than nothing, at least), and great for the players who wanted to get a deal done months ago.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 24, 2020