Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The baseball news cycle is really heating up this week, as the sport takes steps toward potentially starting a 2020 MLB season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Monday brought word that the team owners approved a proposal for how a season might look, and they will discuss that plan in negotiations with the players on Tuesday.
The exact details of the offer are not yet known, but plenty of rumors are flying around, especially from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. One is that the season would be around 82 games, which is half of a normal MLB campaign. The schedule would begin in the first few days of July, as has previously been rumored, with some extra spring training beforehand in June. The postseason would go from 10 to 14 teams, and would start in October as usual. Rosters would go from 26 up to 30, plus a 20-man taxi squad to help make up for the likely loss of the entire minor league season. But all of those ideas have already been discussed for weeks now, though previous versions hoped for 100+ games.
The biggest change is the alignment setup. Nightengale reports that the AL and NL would remain in their normal structure, but that teams will only play against their own geographical divisions — for example, the A’s only play against AL West and NL West clubs. That all-West setup has been mentioned before, but not alongside the concept of the traditional leagues staying intact.
With all that interleague play going on, the two sides will also consider making the DH universal for all games. That would certainly make sense in a world where 50% of games are played between teams from opposite leagues, and also in a world where pitcher health is an especially hot-button topic after they’ll be forced to rush through an abbreviated spring training. Even if you hate the DH, it really makes a lot of sense for 2020.
Will the MLBPA agree to this deal, or will they balk at the idea of having their salaries reduced and/or tied to league revenues? Stay tuned all week to find out!
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Best of Twitter:
Key words: “as early as spring training in a month”
MLB owners on a conference call today approved a measure that will be officially send to the union tomorrow to begin negotiations to try to get the season restarted as early as spring traininig in a month. LOTS OF HURDLES ahead— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 11, 2020
Among the aforementioned hurdles ...
Current MLB proposal would still try to have postseason in Oct at home fields if possible. Concerned about 2d wave of Covid-19 coming in cooler weather/disrputing playoffs. Plus concerned TV landscape for sports could be jammed with other leagues/sports re-sked in Nov.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 11, 2020
The start of a 16-tweet thread
Bear with me, but it feels like we've zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season. Here are some things I'll be looking for in the proposal...— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020
At least Manfred can agree on things with one person in the world
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he had talked with Rob Manfred and said MLB had promised not to hold any games in violation of state guidelines. Newsom said he'd like to see games, even fan-free, but no guarantees. "We'll see where we will be in July," Newsom said.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 11, 2020
Dave Stewart talking some basketball, because why not
Dave Stewart names his all-time Oakland Starting Five— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) May 11, 2020
via Roundball Rap with @MarcJSpearsESPN pic.twitter.com/7YMqiKTZu9
Mike Blowers becomes Blowstradamus
happy 34th birthday to Matt Tuiasosopo, co-star of one of the greatest predictions in the history of sports pic.twitter.com/CAbMWzPt9s— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) May 10, 2020