After months of bitter negotiations and ugly back and forth between Major League Baseball team owners and the players union, we’ll soon get to see the Padres take the field.
Baseball is back, just not like we’ve known baseball before.
The traditional 162 game regular season is now 60 games.
Spring training is now training camp, and it’s not held at remote locations.
And 25-man rosters are now, well, larger than 25 men.
AOh, yeah, Opening Day is closer to the “Dog Days of August,” than the eternal hope that Spring brings.
Those are a few of the changes MLB players have agreed to, after telling team owners they plan to play the 2020 season.
After nearly three months of stalemated negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties' March 26 agreement to impose a schedule of its desired length. The 60-game season will start the weekend of July 24 and finish by September 27, followed by a 10-team playoff culminating with in the World Series.
Players will report for Spring Training July 1, but instead of training in traditional Spring Training locations like Arizona and Florida, each MLB team will be in their home city. So, rather than go to Peoria, Arizona for training camp, the Padres will be in San Diego getting ready for the 2020 season.
Several recent COVID-19 outbreaks at Spring Training team facilities, plus the increased travel risks led to this decision to train in each team’s home city.
Once the games start, it will be at a hectic pace -- basically, 66 games in 60 days. Team rosters will be increased from their traditional size of 25 players. The expanded rosters will allow for a larger player pool if and when a player tests positive for Covid-19, making it easier for teams to add a healthy player.
Remember, there is no minor league baseball this year, so the expanded rosters also allow teams to keep their top-flight prospects practicing and playing within the team's big league structure.
Safety and health protocols are still being worked out, but testing and quarantining will obviously be a bit part of how the season plays out. Also, fans are not expected to be allowed into the stands at this time, but that could change as the season progresses.