Major League Baseball will be played in 2020 after all. According to reports from multiple media outlets, including The Athletic and ESPN, MLB team owners voted in favor of implementing a 60-game season with July 24th set as the most likely date for Opening Day.
The league and MLB Players Association were previously locked in three months of negotiations about the season resume but couldn’t come to an understanding. However, the previous agreement between the two sides from March 26th gives commissioner Rob Manfred an option to implement the season, which he’s now going to use.
The players are expected to report to their teams by July 1st and sign on the health and safety protocols for MLB to officially resume its activities.
MLBPA asked Manfred to impose a season of the desired length last week after the league rejected their most recent counter-proposal. MLB made a final attempt to avoid this scenario in recent days, introducing an improved offer to the players that included 60 games, full prorated salaries, expanded postseason, and several salary bumps. However, the players union voted against the proposal on Monday with a 33-5 tally.
With the imposed season, players will also get full prorated salaries, which will amount to $1.5 billion and 37% of the money they would receive for a usual 162-game season. However, the advance of $170 million that the players received under March 26th agreement won’t be pardoned, and the players won’t get previously proposed postseason bonus money and share of television revenues from expanded playoffs next season.
Players did, however, kept the option to file a grievance against the league and will most likely use it soon. But that shouldn’t change their willingness to step out on the field and play games, which means that baseball fans will still get some entertainment in 2020.