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MLB’s restart plan is coming

Get ready.

According to multiple reports, commissioner Rob Manfred will present a blueprint for the season’s resumption during a Monday conference call with league owners. From there, the first formal proposal for a return to play would be given to the Players Association, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

Reports on Saturday characterized the situation as still extremely fluid, with many hurdles to overcome. Approval is not only needed from the players but also from local governments and medical experts with whom the league has been in constant consultation.

According to reports, the plan presented to owners is expected to contain an 80-game season that begins in early July with the goal of playing as many games as possible in empty home ballparks.

Some form of a second spring training would be required in June — either at home ballparks or at facilities in Florida and Arizona. Active rosters would have to be expanded beyond 26 players, perhaps as big as 45 or 50, according to The Athletic.

Teams would play exclusively against their divisional opponents and against their geographic counterpart in the other league — meaning the Astros could face teams in only the American League and National League West. The postseason would expand from 10 to 14 teams, too.

Concerns about harder hit areas of the country, travel and the availability of widespread testing for COVID-19 are still obvious. What to do if a player or staff member tests positive is still unknown.

In an agreement between the league and its players association on March 26, MLB promised not to resume its season until there were no bans on mass gatherings, medical experts determined there was no health risks for players, team personnel fans or ballpark staff and travel restrictions were lifted in the United States and Canada.

The agreement did offer flexibility for the league and union to discuss playing in empty stadiums, which is now almost a certainty. The economic impacts of such a scenario could offer the most discontent between the league and players union.

The three-divisions plan, with teams playing in their (likely empty) stadia against the teams geographically closest to them is different from the three states plan, which was the last one I had taken note of, but it’s in the same vein. The idea is to minimize travel (which also reduces costs) and make it easier to keep the players close by. Whatever gets proposed will have to be approved by the players, who have their own concerns about safety and compensation and other things. There’s basically no other news out there about this right now, or at least there wasn’t yesterday when I drafted this. I’m sure we’ll see more once the actual plan has been released. In the meantime, I am hopeful that we are on a path to getting baseball back, and more than a little concerned that it’s all an illusion that will not be able to withstand the reality of our situation. I’m sticking with the hope for now.

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6 Comments

  1. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Empty stadiums means no economic impact from our involuntary investment in MLB, NBA, and NFL. Its time to ensure that HCHSA stops spending our money for the benefit of the owners. You want baseball….pay for it yourself. All of it. Dont ask others to pay for it.

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    The new scheduling and empty stadiums might not be as much fun, if anyone remembers the NFL went on with strike shortened seasons once or twice in the 1980s. The Super Bowl and post season was never cancelled, but teams got in based on the performance of the scab teams, etc.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Tom,

    Well said. When NRG was built, Bud Adams’ skybox renovation bonds weren’t even paid off. Remember? He was going to take his marbles and go home if he didn’t get the skybox renovation, and then he went ahead and took his marbles and went to Tennessee anyway. As I recall, the taxpayers had to make up the shortfall for a while on the bond debt service, while Bud and Co.. were in Tennessee. That’s unconscionable.

  4. brad says:

    So Bill, you are not for uber-rich sports owners getting free rides from tax payers, but you are for uber-rich Americans getting enormous imbalanced tax breaks and free rides from your GOP party’s tax plans that will “basically pay for themselves” [note: they don’t] and run up the annual deficit by a $ trillion per year?

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    I am for Americans at all levels being able to keep more of what they earn, and I feel that Americans, and American businesses, can better allocate their dollars by spending them themselves, vs. a confiscatory system where most income gets sucked up by the government at various levels and redistributed as the government sees fit.

    I call this the potato chip theory. Governments collect taxes (potato chips) and and then bag them up. There’s a full bag full of taxes. Yet when the government open the bag, it’s always half empty right away, and government tells us, well, some settling occurred during shipping.

    Now here’s the unpleasant truth part. If we are being fair, and we want to cut taxes, then the people paying the most taxes should get the most benefit. If you are one of the 47% that either don’t pay a dollar of federal income tax, or worse, get earned income tax credit and actually MAKE money on tax day, then…..WTF do you want? You’re not paying, but you’re gonna bitch because the people who did pay paid a little less?

  6. […] here for the background and some more details about the initial proposal. I’m going to hand this […]