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Nearly three months after Major League Baseball suspended the start of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus, the timetable for baseball’s return keeps getting pushed back.
Now, amid more disputes between players and owners, the wait for the 2020 MLB season could last even longer.
As MLB and the players’ union continue to debate safety protocols and the league’s financial outlook for this season, with no progress being made in negotiations, a potential MLB season is facing another delay.
When Major League Baseball first announced it would delay Opening Day and the 2020 season, it expected to return in May. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened across the United States and it quickly became apparent that baseball wouldn’t return in a timely manner.
As a result, the MLBPA and MLB agreed to a deal on March 26 that outlined a framework for the game’s potential return. Players would receive prorated salaries based on the number of games played, with many expecting an 82-game season. However, MLB’s plan for a return still hadn’t come together in May and both sides have been locked in heated negotiations ever since.
Now, just a few days after there seemed to be hope that this season would start in July, the timetable is shifting. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, negotiations between the two sides are hostile and many now expect it to drag on much longer.
MLB hoped to begin its season in iconic fashion by holding Opening Day on July 4. However, that date for a return is now out of the question, given teams need to prepare their facilities for the COVID-19 safety protocols and players need a month to get ready for a season.
As a result, August is now becoming the best-case scenario for MLB. While commissioner Rob Manfred wants to reach an agreement with the union on a structure for the season, the deal signed with the MLBPA in March allows MLB’s commissioner to set the number of games.
Unfortunately, that now seems to be the likeliest option. The latest development in negotiations casts an ominous shadow regarding the chances for an agreement and hope is dwindling across Major League Baseball.
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