Baseball owners reportedly approved plans Monday that would put Fernando Tatis Jr. and other Padres stars back on the field by the beginning of July.
Major League Baseball’s 30 teams would begin play by July 4 under the proposal, according to the Associated Press. Fans would not be able to attend games during the shortened season though.
The players union will hear the proposal Tuesday, the AP reported, but observers predicted talks could bog down over a proposed revenue split in the plan.
Other significant changes in the plan include:
- Teams mostly playing within their own divisions, with a smattering of inter-league games.
- Limiting the season to approximately 82 games.
- The National League using the designated hitter.
- Expanding the post-season to 14 teams rather than the current 10.
Governors and mayors weighed in, urging caution. Public health restrictions on mass gatherings due to the coronavirus prompted baseball to indefinitely postpone the season’s March start.
“We’ll see where we’ll be in July,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told the Los Angeles Times.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he had talked with Rob Manfred and said MLB had promised not to hold any games in violation of state guidelines. Newsom said he'd like to see games, even fan-free, but no guarantees. "We'll see where we will be in July," Newsom said.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 11, 2020
One player, Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals, raised a number of questions in a lengthy thread on social media.
Citing research into the severity of COVID-19 – “There is still so much we don’t know,” he said –he asked if the league had considered multiple factors. They include: the danger of playing in indoor stadiums, the effect of the coronavirus on those with pre-existing medical conditions and baseball’s ability to offer an appropriate amount of testing to protect not just players, but staff and support workers.
“We need to consider what level of risk we’re willing to assume,” Doolittle wrote.
Meanwhile, KGTV checked in with San Diego Padres game analyst Tony Gwynn Jr., who had reservations as well. The former big leaguer also raised the issue of protections for players, family and staff, while pointing to players’ possible concerns about compensation.
“I hope it’s not a fight, but my instinct tells me it’s going to be a fight,” he said.
We need to consider what level of risk we're willing to assume. 80% of cases are considered mild, but what if a player, a staff member, an auxiliary worker, or a family member gets a case that's in the 20% and they develop severe symptoms or chronic issues? 1 feels like too many?
— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020
PLAY BALL? Tony Gwynn, Jr. talks about Major League Baseball's plan to start their season in July and why there's still safety and financial issues to overcome.https://t.co/o8URG2KpSe
— 10News (@10News) May 12, 2020
– Staff reports
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