NEW YORK – At last, it appears that baseball is finally back.
Per multiple reports, the first from Jeff Passan of ESPN, Major League Baseball players will report to team training camps on July 1st and be ready to play a 60-game season.
They will do so over the span of 66 days with opening day currently slated for July 24th.
All that is left for the players to do is to approve the health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, which will be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. The league asked players to answer in the affirmative to that question along with the report date by 4 PM on Tuesday in order to get the season officially going.
After negotiations broke down between the sides on Monday, commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners used their power to set this 60-game schedule. It was mutually agreed upon that Manfred would have the power to do so back in March.
Each side tried to get a deal done over the past few weeks, but the amount of games proved to be a continued sticking point. Players wanted more contests and higher prorated salary, at one point asking for 114-games to be played. The owners balked at the number of games since they hope to finish the season before November in case of a second wave of COVID-19.
Both sides got within ten games during the last negotiations – with 70 being proposed by players and 60 by owners – before the MLBPA asked for a second time for a season schedule to be set. Earlier in June, the union asked Manfred to do so but he refused, hoping each side would start negotiating.
But this time the commissioner wouldn’t let that happen again. A schedule appears set, and while the way they got there was less than ideal, at least a season will be played in 2020.