MLB Owners Send Plan To Players, Aim For July 4 Start
Major League Baseball owners will send a proposal to players that calls for spring training beginning in mid-June and regular-season games starting around July 4.
The plan, which has been widely reported on the last few weeks, proposes an 82-game schedule with games being played between each division and the same division in the other league, according to the Associated Press. For example, AL Central teams will face each other and teams from the NL Central.
The owners will send the proposal to the players’ association to begin negotiations as early as Tuesday. The players would have to sign off on the plan and several issues will likely be debated, including coronavirus testing, travel and pay.
MLB shut down operations in the middle of March, about two weeks before the scheduled start of the regular season, leaving MLB futures to bet on.
BREAKING: Major League Baseball owners OK a proposal that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans.— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 11, 2020
All major sports leagues and sporting events worldwide have been postponed or canceled since that time. But some pro sports have either returned (UFC) or plan to return in the coming weeks (NASCAR, PGA, English Premier League), giving hope that there will be more options for bettors.
But for fans of MLB betting, it's a step in the right direction as the NBA and NHL are still in discussions on how to proceed. Some NBA practice facilities began opening Friday, but no decision on the remainder of the season has been made.
Other Items In The MLB Proposal
Some other key items of the MLB plan, according to AP:
- Ballparks: Teams would like to play at their own ballparks, but would move games to spring training sites or neutral sites if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained for games at home. Because of international travel limitations, the Toronto Blue Jays might have to play home games in Dunedin, Florida, their spring training home.
- Rosters: Instead of the 25-man rosters, they would expand to 30 players with a taxi squad of other players available during the abbreviated season.
- Designated Hitters: The National League would add a DH.
- Playoffs: One plan would expand the playoffs to as many as 14 teams from the current 10. Wild cards would double in each league. The goal is to still have playoffs and the World Series in October.
- All-Star Game: Set to be played in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on July 14, the game could be called off.
Among all of the items on the table, players’ pay will likely be the most contentious. USA Today has reported that owners will offer players 48%. But AP said owners are proposing that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues.
That proposal is predicated on fans being able to return. Without fans, the revenue drop will be steep when you consider how much money fans spend at ballparks.