MLB Owners, MLBPA Agree On Protocols And 60-Game Season
Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to return on either July 23 or 24, with players returning to training camps on July 1, after the league and the union agreed on health and safety protocols regarding the sport’s return amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After three months of back and forth negotiations regarding the return to action and the player pay deal, the league is implementing a 60-game regular season (the shortest season in the sport’s modern era) that will be completed on September 27.
The league was forced to impose the schedule, as was agreed upon in the March 26 agreement, after the MLB and MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) failed to agree on the revised season length and player pay.
The players will be guaranteed a fully prorated portion of their salaries, which for 60 games, will equal approximately 37 per cent for the full season.
MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, said in a statement the league 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.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” Manfred said.
“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,” he said.
The MLBPA tweeted a statement, announcing the players commitment to playing the 2020 season.
“Earlier this evening, the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible,” the statement said.
“To that end we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and proposed 2020 schedule.
“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game, and for each other,” the MLBPA statement said.
The MLBPA was pushing for a minimum 70-game season in which they would receive $50 million in playoff revenue as well as a percentage in 2021 of new money from the TV rights brought in from the expanded playoffs.
According to ESPN reports, the players are still expected to file a grievance against the MLB for not staging as full a season as possible, claiming the league was trying only to save money from player salaries, and the league likely will counter with a grievance of its own.
This decision comes amid multiple reports from around the league of positive tested COVID-19 cases, with seven players and five staff members from the Philadelphia Phillies testing positive, as well as three Colorado Rockies players testing positive.