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OC Register: MLB owners agree to plan for July start to season, according to reports

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Plans for Major League Baseball’s return cleared one hurdle on Monday morning, but the most difficult may still be ahead.

MLB officials are reportedly scheduled to meet on Tuesday with representatives of the MLB Players Association, who will certainly have concerns about precautions to ensure their health and plans to further reduce their salaries.

MLB owners on Monday morning approved the framework for an 82-game season that would begin around the weekend of July 4, according to multiple reports. Games would initially be played in empty ballparks, but in the teams’ home cities when possible, according to the reports.

The proposal for a start to the season in early July would also likely mean the cancellation of the All-Star Game, which was scheduled for July 14 at Dodger Stadium.

As players weigh the proposal, they will no doubt want to know about how the sport will function with regard to the coronavirus. Earlier public ideas called for players to be quarantined away from their families to protect them from the virus. It’s unclear what measures are in the current proposal, and also what would happen if a player tests positive.

Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle said via Twitter that the “most important” parts of a plan are “health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season.”

The financial implications for players are also significant.

The proposal reportedly includes a 50-50 revenue split between owners and players. Major League Baseball has never had a similar revenue-sharing plan before, with players having set salaries regardless of the sport’s revenue.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has limited the sport’s ability to play games in front of fans, which would slash the sport’s revenue. Television revenue from playing games in empty ballparks would account for only a portion of the teams’ normal income.

Players already agreed to be paid their regular salaries on a pro-rated basis — if 50 percent of the schedule is played, players would receive 50 percent of their salaries. If many of those games are played in empty ballparks, the players salaries would be reduced even further.

If there is no agreement and the season isn’t played at all, players would receive a total of $170 million in April and May, and nothing else. That’s about 4 percent of the salary they would earn for a full season.

The hope is that later in the season teams could begin selling tickets, perhaps not to the full capacities of their ballparks.

The owners’ proposal also reportedly calls for a new schedule, which would limit teams to games within their division and the corresponding division in the other league. The Angels and Dodgers would then play only games within the AL West and NL West.

According to a report in the Athletic, teams would play four three-game series against the other four teams in their division and two three-game series against each of the five teams in the corresponding division in the other league. That totals 78 games, although a few extra games could be added with four-game series.

The playoffs reportedly would be expanded to include seven teams in each league, with the team with the best record getting a bye, and the other six playing best-of-three series to determine the four teams advancing to the best-of-five division series.

Both leagues would also adopt the designated hitter for the 2020 season, according to reports.

Under the proposal, teams would begin a modified reboot of spring training in early to mid June, with teams able to work out either in their home city or returning to Arizona or Florida.

Teams would also have rosters expanded to 30, instead of 26, which would help account for pitchers not being prepared as thoroughly after a shortened training period. The teams would also keep a squad of inactive players to replace injured players, because there would likely be no minor league games. Minor league baseball can’t function financially without fans.

The additional roster spots certainly provide the players with one incentive to accept ownership’s proposal, even with the possibility of having their salaries reduced further.

More to come on this story.

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They should put a dozen fans in each stadium, the loudest and most obnoxious they can find.  Silent baseball will be weird.

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2 minutes ago, Lou said:

Not getting anything from him is almost worth cancelling the entire season.

 

Ya know, I'd almost be happy with the Dodgers winning the "World Series" this year because it will have an asterisk on it.  In a few years nobody will care.

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1 minute ago, Glen said:

 

Ya know, I'd almost be happy with the Dodgers winning the "World Series" this year because it will have an asterisk on it.  In a few years nobody will care.

Dodgers fans will care.

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4 minutes ago, Glen said:

They should put a dozen fans in each stadium, the loudest and most obnoxious they can find.  Silent baseball will be weird.

My proposal was to put one fan in each section. The wave would be awesome.

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4 minutes ago, Glen said:

 

Ya know, I'd almost be happy with the Dodgers winning the "World Series" this year because it will have an asterisk on it.  In a few years nobody will care.

Doubtful. Anyone talk about the shortened season nba title? 

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So the the AL West is only going to play against AL and NL West teams... but the playoff seeding is still going to be based off traditional AL and NL divisions... How does that make any sense? That's 30 out of 78 games against teams you aren't even competing against. This is the easiest thing to not fuck up.

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17 hours ago, AngelsFaninGA said:

Is anyone actually going to take this season seriously?

Yes, initially many people will. But if we immediately fall way down in the standings it will quickly be disregarded as serious baseball and receive comparisons to Circus Vargas. 

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