SEASON STARTS IN:
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced yesterday that Major League Baseball anticipates beginning its 2020 regular season approximately one month from today, on July 23rd or July 24th.
The announcement follows confirmation today that the MLB Players Association has accepted the health and safety protocols that will guide MLB’s return to play and that players will be able to report for training by July 1st. The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB 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.
MLB has submitted a 60-game regular season schedule for review by the Players Association. The proposed schedule will largely feature divisional play, with the remaining portion of each Club’s games against their opposite league’s corresponding geographical division (i.e., East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West), in order to mitigate travel. The vast majority of Major League Clubs are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities.
Commissioner Manfred said: “Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. 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.”
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – On Tuesday, 103 days after Spring Training came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed to report to “Spring Training 2.0” by July 1st with the regular season set to start on July 24th. Following three months of contentious negotiations between the players and owners, the 30 owners voted unanimously on Monday to implement a 60 game season. And the final hurdle was cleared on Tuesday evening, as the Players Association agreed to the health and safety protocols submitted by the League.
One thing is clear, nothing about baseball in 2020 will resemble anything we’ve ever seen before. One of the most unique parts of a Major League season is the fact that the season is a marathon and not a sprint. But this season, each game will mean something. Teams that get off to slow starts will be in trouble. Meanwhile, teams that start hot will put themselves in a good position to make the Postseason. To put it in perspective, last season the Nationals started out 19-31 through their first 50 games. As we all know, they went on to win the World Series. Conversely, the Giants were 31-19 through the first fifty in 2019 and ended up eight games under .500, third in the National League West.
Closer to home, the Braves are in great shape. We know they have a solid bullpen with three former All-Star closers at the back end, a rotation featuring young horses like Mike Soroka and Max Fried and an offense that took off in early May of last season when Ronald Acuna was moved to the top of the order. In addition, Freddie Freeman, who dealt with some wrist soreness in Spring Training has had an extra three months to get healthy and Cole Hamels could be a big addition to the starting rotation.
While some fans may not like the fact the season is just 60 games, it’s better than the alternative. And while ballparks will likely remain empty for this season, our National Pastime is finally back!
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.