122½ days ago, baseball shut down all of its facilities and halted the 2020 MLB season. Weeks went by with proposal after proposal and rejection after rejection. On Monday evening, fans heard the magic words they were waiting for months, baseball is coming back. Tuesday, the players finalized the vote and will report to camp July 1st, pending the acceptance of the safety and health protocols laid out by MLB, making the return official.
MLB statement: pic.twitter.com/Jz3rSTvXuU
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 23, 2020
I’m not going to ignore all of the congested traffic that led to this moment. MLBPA rejected the last offer by Major League Baseball’s owners and commissioner, which did not include a few extras that players jumped for (expanded playoffs and universal designated hitter post-2020). However, if MLBPA accepted Major League Baseball’s offer, the most significant piece was thrown off the table, the player’s ability to file a grievance against MLB. The final result came into the hands of Commissioner Rob Manfred, and to his credit didn’t go the petty route with a more abbreviated season.
Not sure how you prove "bad faith" when owners made several proposals, even if proposals until last week didn't address No. 1 plank in players platform: 100 percent pro rata. https://t.co/69girsoMdC
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) June 22, 2020
2020 Season Structure
The season sets to sixty games, with the format still uncertain. Summer training (or Spring Training 2.0) begins next Wednesday, July 1st, with the regular season beginning three weeks later (projected July 24th). The season is still on point to end at the end of September with a regularly scheduled postseason. The National League will implement a designated hitter this season, but it’s unclear whether it will carry over to future seasons.
Most of the financial and legal aesthetics are sorted out (for now), but the United States still stands in the pandemic’s teeth. Specific states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas are hot spots for COVID-19, and training camps are closed due to safety precautions. The health and safety of players, coaches, personnel, and workers come into question. How is the league going to handle if a small abundance of people test positive that attribute to the day-to-day baseball activities? Travel brings up another concern. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told NBC’s TODAY that he is looking to quarantine visitors with New York’s infection rate decreasing. What does that mean for teams traveling to play the Mets and Yankees for the four-month season and postseason? The question that stems the mind of baseball fans, how long will the ride last? It’s interesting the possibility of coronavirus impacting the start and end of baseball in 2020 with little discussion in the middle.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 23, 2020
What does this mean for Ranger fans?
The good news is that Rangers fans can enjoy their team in the dog days of summer. Also, the beautiful Globe Life Field will get its use in 2020 for baseball-related activities. Unfortunately, the new palace won’t fill up during the Rangers’ first official game. Right now, stadium capacity limits to fifty percent. Therefore, 20,000 fans are the maximum Globe Life Field can withhold without breaking state requirements. It’s a rough start to the reign of Globe Life Field, but at least fans will witness a first pitch delivered at the new park. Earlier talks indicated that MLB would let the teams follow state regulations regarding attendance. By that standard, it’s a no-brainer for the Rangers to allow fans inside the new park, while I personally wouldn’t mind playing in empty parks for 2020.
The events leading up to today will not go unnoticed. While there was a glimmer of hope with Manfred initiating sixty games rather than going the bare minimum of forty-five to fifty, no olive branch will reach easily for both sides come 2022. Nevertheless, let’s push that aside and worry when the end of the 2021 season comes. We are potentially only weeks away from hearing Chuck Morgan’s famous words, “It’s baseball time in Texas!”
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