Opening day may come around after all for Major League Baseball teams this year, according to an Associated Press source who says that owners have drafted a plan to start the 2020 season in early July.
Sadly for fans, however, the experience of going to games is going to be much different than it was before the pandemic hit.
Major League Baseball owners reportedly approved a proposal today that would indeed see MLB teams start to face off around the American Fourth of July holiday weekend — but without any fans in the stands and in limited pairings.
The Associated Press reports that, under the current plan, each team would play only 82 regular-season games, down from the normal 162 and that they’d play only against opponents in their own division, “plus interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.”
A “person familiar with the decision” who spoke under the condition of anonymity told the AP that this plan will be presented to the union representing MLB players on Tuesday.
If the players agree that all it all sounds good (for their health and their bank accounts), spring training would start in mid-June.
Being that 40 per cent of all MLB revenue is tied to gate sales, and owners are proposing that players receive a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of all revenues during the rest of the season, the absence of fans in stadiums could prove problematic.
The proposal does apparently “take into account fans being able to return to ballparks at some point” this year, however, “perhaps with a small percentage of seats sold at first and then gradually increasing.”
Great news for some fans, but those who love attending Toronto Blue Jays games at the Rogers Centre shouldn’t get their hopes up: Due to border restrictions, Canada’s only MLB team would have to play their home games down south at their training facility in Dunedin, Florida.
Regardless of whether or not they’ll be able to attend games in person, baseball fans will likely be stoked if the proposal goes: It’s been nearly two sports-free months now since the MLB season and all other major league sports were postponed due to the pandemic.