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MLBPA: We’re set to launch 2020 MLB season

Major League BaseballWith the players association signing off on a July 1 reporting date and agreement on operating protocols, the 2020 MLB season is a go, with a 60-game season beginning the weekend July 23-24.

So, basically, the sport is in the same spot as it was on March 26 when MLB and MLBPA agreed on a plan to reopen the game, with MLB advancing player salaries and the union expecting prorated salaries. In the end, owners stuck with their payroll target of $1.5 billion–a number that didn’t change much, even when various numbers of games were floated–and an end date of Sept. 27, which would allow for October playoffs before an expected second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will train and play at home ballparks (save the Toronto Blue Jays, at least at the beginning, as travel restrictions to Canada make that impossible) in a three-division arrangement that cuts down on travel; this scheduled has been submitted to the players. Yes, we will see a universal DH for 2020 and the “International Tie Breaker” (IBT) used in international play and first pushed by Joe Torre; no, we will not see uniform patches.

One huge issue remains for the sport: What if the coronavirus roars back in a big way? We’ve already seem players and staff testing positive while working out at MLB training camps, with the Phillies announcing more positives today. In three states hosting plenty of teams–Arizona, Texas and Florida–we’re seeing both increased numbers of positives as well as. surge in positive test rates (above 10 percent in both Arizona and Florida, in the most recent results). The former can be explained by an increase in testing, but not the latter. If, after some several weeks of plays we see a higher-than-expected number of players test positive, we could see the 2020 season shut down.

With daily news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we launched a Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge to industry professionals. Sign up here.

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