Monday night delivered good news to baseball fans.
Major League Baseball has asked the MLBPA to declare by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday whether players can report to camp by July 1 under new health and safety protocols.
All MLB owners unanimously voted to proceed with the 2020 season under the March 26 agreement with the MLBPA, which emerges as a slight surprise considering reports of several owners objecting a season.
This vote gives commissioner Rob Manfred the position to implement this choice of schedule with the approval from team owners as part of the agreement. The league aims to play a complete 60-game season with an expanded playoffs, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Source: Owners plan to implement 60-game season once union responds to two questions posed in statement. https://t.co/6Erj1jLpfK
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 23, 2020
“The framework provided an opportunity for MLB and its players to work together to confront the difficulties and challenges presented by the pandemic,” the league said in its statement. “It gave our fans the chance to see an exciting new Postseason format.”
Earlier today, the MLBPA rejected MLB’s 60-game offer that includes expanded playoffs in a 33-5 vote.
From recent talks, the central concern seems to be in regards to waiving the players’ right to file a grievance. However, the waiving of the right to file grievances is not included in today’s latest update, which means that if the union agrees within the next day, this is a victory for the players and baseball in its entirety.
Over the weekend, the union initially delayed its vote to collect more data regarding COVID-19 testing after 40 players and staff members tested positive at training facilities in Arizona, Florida, and other big market cities.
MLB closed camps on Friday for 14 days and announced that Spring Training would only occur in home cities. Players offered an email to MLPBA executive director Tony Clark to cancel the universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs for 2021 if there is no full season in 2020.
Now, the ball is back in the players’ court. Or field.