Major League Baseball is back
The Major League Baseball Players Association and the league ironed out the final details Tuesday ahead of a return to play, one that will see players report to camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season starting around July 24.
The last hurdle — an agreement on health and safety protocols — was cleared Tuesday night — some three-plus months after spring training was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps,” the union tweeted Tuesday night.
It marked the end of a lengthy — and often contentious — battle between the sides.
On Monday, the league’s owners voted to implement a 60-game season that would begin around July 24. After the vote, MLB asked the union whether players would be able to report to training camps by July 1 and whether the union would agree on the health and safety protocols.
After nearly three months of fruitless negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties’ March 26 agreement to impose a schedule of its desired length. By choosing a season of 60 games, the league will pack in about as many games as it can through Sept. 27, the league’s self-imposed cutoff for the regular season to end.
Additionally, the 60-game season could serve as a buffer against a grievance by the MLBPA, which, in the case of a potential implementation, has been expected to charge the league with not fulfilling its duty to complete as full a season as possible. The league could file a grievance against the union as well.
Under the imposed season, players will receive the full prorated share of their salaries — about 37% of their full-season salaries and around $1.5 billion total. The postseason will remain at 10 teams. Players will not receive forgiveness on the $170 million salary advance they received as part of the March agreement and will get no money from the postseason.
Players will not agree to wearing on-field microphones. Teams will not wear advertising patches on their uniforms. The universal designated hitter likely will remain in place, as it’s part of the health and safety protocol.