ESPN Poll: 77% of Baseball Fans Support 60-Game MLB Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2020

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 26: Boston Red Sox bats are displayed in advance of a training period before the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season on June 26, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

In a poll conducted by ESPN, 77 percent of baseball fans said they support MLB's plan to hold a 60-game season, which will begin July 23 or 24.

According to ESPN, 73 percent of sports fans polled were in favor of the plan.

After lengthy negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA, Commissioner Rob Manfred set the schedule for the 2020 season Tuesday. The players agreed to report to camps by Wednesday and play what would be the shortest season in history.

The season was supposed to start March 26, but things were put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. While a season is going to happen, there is some belief MLB and the MLBPA erred in not returning sooner to play more games and get more eyes on the sport.

In the ESPN poll, which involved 1,003 sports fans, 58 percent agreed that the "slow return was a 'missed opportunity.'" But 64 percent of those polled said that will not impact their viewing habits.

Players are scheduled to report to camps next week, meaning they will have about three weeks to prepare for the season. The camps will almost exclusively be held in the teams' home cities since spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona were shut down last week amid a number of COVID-19 cases in baseball.

While playing just 60 of the usual 162 games isn't ideal, many baseball fans are excited to watch the sport they love in any capacity.

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As part of the shortened season, teams will play only their divisional opponents and interleague games against the corresponding division, meaning American League East teams will play AL East and National League East opponents, and so on.

There will also be a universal designated hitter, which could be included in the new collective bargaining agreement when the current one expires after the 2021 season.

One thing that won't change is the playoff format, as five teams from each league will qualify.

The 2020 season will mark the first shortened season since 1995, when teams played 144 games after the start of the campaign was delayed by a players' strike that began in August 1994.