MLB Reportedly Plans to Provide MLBPA with 2020 Season Proposal Within a WeekMay 6, 2020
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic reported Wednesday that Major League Baseball will offer a proposal to the MLB Players Association "within a week" regarding the beginning of the 2020 season, which has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the same, and Rosenthal noted that ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on the latest news as well.
Obstacles remain in place for a start to the season, however, with Rosenthal outlining a few:
"Greater availability of testing is a must; players will need to undergo regular tests and daily temperature checks to ensure the infection of one team member does not require an entire club to shut down. A vaccine will not be ready in time for this season, and maybe not even next season, creating potential issues for 2021. But the development of medicines to effectively treat COVID-19 would reduce the health risks, and if the numbers trend in the right direction, the sport might push forward with a shortened season and adjust as warranted.
"Make no mistake, adjustments will be warranted."
Sherman echoed similar sentiments:
"The obstacles to returning to play, though, remain significant. The numbers of Americans contracting and dying from the coronavirus are going up in a few areas where MLB wants to play. There have yet to be clear signals that the league will be provided enough green lights to return all the teams to either their home or spring sites and that the clubs will have the equipment, tests and medical personnel necessary to do so."
MLB initially delayed the season—which was slated to begin March 26, with all teams taking part in Opening Day—by two weeks.
Days after MLB's official announcement, the season was then delayed until at least mid-May in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that stated no gatherings of 50 or more people should take place within eight weeks from March 15.
The eight-week mark from March 15 nears, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues its spread. A total of 16,200 confirmed new cases occurred May 6, per the World Health Organization, although that represented a drop-off of 13,066 the day before.
Some states have begun slowly reopening non-essential businesses in recent days (e.g., Texas), while others are still in lockdown mode (e.g., New Jersey).
That complicates matters for the beginning of the MLB season, but a few dates have been tossed around, with former MLB player Trevor Plouffe (now of Jomboy Media's Talkin' Baseball) reporting Tuesday that he heard a truncated spring training will start June 10, with regular-season games beginning July 1. All teams would play at their home parks.
Rosenthal referenced the Plouffe report in his latest piece:
"According to sources, officials from at least one team, the Indians, gave their players a 'mark in the sand' Tuesday for Opening Day—July 1, the same date former major leaguer Trevor Plouffe had mentioned in a tweet Monday.
"Indians officials, on a Zoom call that included about 70 members of the organization, estimated the season would begin after a three-week ramp-up, putting the start of Spring Training 2.0 around June 10, another date Plouffe specified. But the officials made it clear the dates were mere targets, fully expected to change. They simply wanted players to be prepared if the league meets all of the logistical challenges necessary to play.
"Which still is no sure thing."
Other American professional sports organizations are planning returns shortly, with the UFC holding UFC 249 on Saturday and NASCAR's Cup Series returning to the track May 17. The PGA Tour also plans to head to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Charles Schwab Challenge beginning June 11.
However, those organizations have it easier than MLB, which has 30 teams and their traveling parties around the country to coordinate. Still, there have at least been some signs of optimism of late as the league looks to take the diamond at some point in 2020.