After weeks of labor disputes and failed attempts at finding a common ground, the owners and players have finally agreed to a proper agreement to start the season. If you’ve been paying attention to my takes on the Heart of the Order channel, I’ve been a big proprietor of this being solely on the owners and their greed. There were numerous offers on the table and fear of a 48 game season, but after meeting the demand of full prorated salaries and the duo of Rob Manfred/Tony Clark stepping in to find common ground, we have baseball. Here are some quick facts on what you need to know about the upcoming season.
- There is a total of 60 games where the players will be paid full salaries for games played. If a game isn’t played, they won’t be paid. This was a big crutch for the players during the back and forth between ownership and the MLBPA. They’re set to make about a third of their salaries if all games are played. MLB camps open July 1st which puts first pitch of the regular season on track for July 23rd or 24th. The 60 games will be played in 66 days. That’s a lot of baseball in a short span but I’m here for it!
- Since there are 60 games and still a pandemic, the games will be limited between division and cross-division interleague play. The Pirates will play 40 games vs the NL Central and the remaining 20 will be played against the AL Central. This is to limit travel for the players and families and standard for the East and West divisions of the AL and NL.
- The DH is instituted throughout both leagues. I love this rule as it allows managers to utilize their bench and bullpen more so for day-to-day as opposed to in-game situations. This also allows for a more exciting product due to filling lineups with 9 hitters. No more easy outs! With the NL, you’d see a ton of double switches, pinch-hitting, relievers not pitching multiple days, etc. With this rule, I fully expect the NL teams to now load up on bullpen arms and shorten the benches in the dugouts. In theory, the fewer players in the dugout the better for proper distancing. I expect players to enter the pen in-between innings if necessary.
- If a game goes to extra innings, a runner will start on 2nd base. This was a rule that was being experimented within the lower levels of the minor leagues. They are instituting this in the majors to eliminate marathon games.
- There of course is the question of how does the MLB plan to keep the players safe. These safety measures are still under construction but it is now the priority.
- And finally, do not forget that the Houston Astros cheated and they will not feel the wrath of fans due to empty stadiums.