FILE - In this July 4, 2019, file photo, an American Flag is unfurled in the outfield during the playing of the National Anthem before the start a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers in Chicago. Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday, May 11, 2020, to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Black, File)

MLB owners approve plan to start season in July, source says

Spring training would start in early to mid-June

Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.

Spring training would start in early to mid-June, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the plan were not announced.

MLB officials are slated to make a presentation to the union on Tuesday. An agreement with the players’ association is needed, and talks are expected to be difficult — especially over a proposal for a revenue split that would be unprecedented for baseball.

Each team would play about 82 regular-season games: against opponents in its own division plus interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.

Postseason play would be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four.

Teams would prefer to play at their regular-season ballparks but would switch to spring training stadiums or neutral sites if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained for games at home. Toronto might have to play home games in Dunedin, Florida.

The All-Star Game, scheduled for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 14, likely would be called off.

Teams will propose that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues MLB receives during the regular-season and post-season, which likely will be among the most contentious aspects of the proposal during negotiations with the players’ association.

That proposal would take into account fans being able to return to ballparks at some point, perhaps with a small percentage of seats sold at first and then gradually increasing.

ALSO READ: Mixed feelings around hockey about holding NHL draft early

Baseball players have refused to consider even the frameworks for the type of revenue splits that have been agreed to by unions in the NFL, NBA and NHL. The last attempt by baseball owners to gain a salary cap with a revenue split led to a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that wiped out the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Rosters would be expanded from 26 to around 30. With minor leagues shuttered, there likely will be the addition of about 20 players per club akin to the NFL’s practice squad.

Players and teams agreed to a deal on March 26 that called for each player to receive only a portion of salary, determined by what percentage of a 162-game schedule is played. As part of that deal, if no season is played each player would receive 2020 service time matching what the player earned in 2019.

But that deal is contingent there being no restrictions on mass gatherings at the federal, state, city and local level; no relevant travel restrictions in the U.S. and Canada; and Commissioner Rob Manfred after consulting the union and medical expects, determines there is no risk to playing in front of fans at regular-season ballparks.

Players and teams committed to “discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at appropriate neutral sites.” Manfred has said about 40% of MLB revenue is tied to gate, including concessions, parking, ballpark advertising, luxury suites and programs.

READ MORE: Hall of Fame event cancelled, B.C.’s Larry Walker to wait one more year

Union officials and players have cited the March 26 agreement as setting economic terms and say they have no inclination for additional cuts. Players are more interested in medical protocols and testing designed to protect them from and detect the new coronavirus. The proposal will detail the plan for dealing with players and staff who test positive.

Because players accrue salaries for the regular season only and not for spring training or the post-season, the union may counter by asking for more regular-season games during negotiations that could significantly alter or possibly even scuttle the restart plan.

The DH was adopted by the American League for the 1973 season but has been resisted by National League owners. The players’ union has favoured it because it would create more jobs for high-paying hitters in their 30s, by MLB has looked at it as an economic issue.

Money, however, has disappeared as an issue at this stage for 2020 because nearly all veteran players have agreed to contracts. Yasiel Puig is the most notable exception.

___

Ronald Blum, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusMLB

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read