Last potential restart of MLB 2020

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A few big recent leaguers caused a stir when they suggested that the MLB might have dates in mind to start the game in the 2020 season. Trevor Plouffe (Twitter link) and Phil Hughes (Twitter link) said that a resumption of spring training on June 10 and an opening day on July 1 were at least on the table (or about to be placed).

There isn’t much support for Plouffe’s rather optimistic initial framing of dates, although later developments indicate that there could be some real discussion of this general calendar. Phillies skipper Joe Girardi said he has “heard of this” potential schedule, as Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. Jon Heyman of MLB Network qualified the aspiration dates, as he has already done (Twitter link).

More interestingly, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription link) that Indian officials announced an opening day on July 1 in player comments. But the dates were not presented as a firm plan, but rather as “mere targets that should change”.

This latest set of storylines surrounding a revival of the game seems intended to follow the path of others we have seen – that is, it will eventually become obsolete when the next proposal is released. But that doesn’t mean it is irrelevant to discuss, given indications of some level of realistic contemplation around the league.

It is notable, at a minimum, that MLB envisions a season in which most or all of the game would take place in its typical home parks. We have heard all kinds of gaming possibilities involving the gathering of players in certain geographic areas, which would offer overall a certain potential for limiting certain risks associated with hosting games during a pandemic, but also many logistical and other challenges. .

Even more interesting is the concept of bringing players together from one month. Agent Scott Boras would like to see this happen even sooner than that, although there is no shortage of reasons to wonder if his views will materialize.

While we are still left without approaching any real benchmarks for a return of professional baseball to North America, it seems safe to assume that the notions of a 162 game season can be safely put to rest. At the same time, the desire to try something like an otherwise essentially “normal” campaign (although without fans present) may increase, against the more drastic changes to the format of the game that had been launched before.

Indeed, the main point to remember here can be found elsewhere in Rosenthal’s report. He writes that “the purpose of the league, according to sources, is to open in as many hometowns as possible.” Unfortunately, there seems to be more informed hope than a plan worked out at this point.



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