As coronavirus cases continue to rise here in the United States, many sports fans began to fear that their beloved pastimes would be forced to extend their health-driven hiatuses through the end of the year.
This has become a particularly serious concern for leagues such as Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, whose plans relied heavily on the use of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. The Sunshine State is currently experiencing a worrisome uptick in COVID-19 cases, and amassing so many athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff members in one place seems a little disconcerting on its face.
There may be some good news on the horizon, however, as the MLB looks poised to begin some sort of a season in the coming days.
Major League Baseball will hold Opening Day either July 23 or 24, and players will head to training camps in a week after the league and the union on Tuesday agreed on health and safety protocols that will govern the sport as it attempts to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly three months of frustrating and failed economic negotiations ended with the league implementing a 60-game season that will run through Sept. 27 and feature a number of new elements — and the same 10-team playoff structure it has used for almost a decade.
The lack of a deal between MLB and the MLB Players Association led to the league imposing a schedule, as was its right in a March 26 agreement that also guaranteed players a fully prorated portion of their salaries. MLB on Monday told the union it planned to impose a schedule as long as the players would report to training camp by July 1 and codify a health and safety manual that runs more than 100 pages. The players agreed to both on Tuesday.
This shortened season clocks in at just over a third the size of a regular campaign, and will certainly arrive in the record books with a rather large asterisk attached.
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