The last shortened season prior to last year in the MLB was in 1994. This was over a labor dispute. It’s possible this season, like last, may be shortened as well due to COVID-19. This time around though, the MLB wants to make sure they have everything right.
A lot of changes were being put on the table for a shortened MLB season proposal. The proposal was recently sent to the MLBPA, but still no word of if the proposal will be accepted. The MLBPA’s plan is to address the proposal sometime on Monday, in hopes that the shortened schedule will meet the Players Association’s standards.
Last seasons’ 60-game schedule was seen as too short by many fans and players. The proposal for this current season is nearly a full season at 154 games. Much of the proposal is revolved around scheduling, making sure the season can start safely, and following COVID-19 protocols. The proposal hopes to begin spring training on March 22nd, and have Opening Day be on April 28th.
The MLB makes it clear that the players will be paid as if they played a full MLB season. The proposal wants to end the MLB regular season on October 10th, moving it back a week from the normal 162-game schedule. The postseason play would then be played partly in November.
With many scheduling changes being put into this proposal, there were also some gameplay changes proposed.
The proposal given to the PA is asking for a 14-team postseason. This is opposed to the previous 16-team that was played last season. While the number of teams is down from the previous year, it still is higher than the number in the current labor agreement that expires at the end of this year. The proposal also includes a universal DH for the entirety of the season. This may not seem like a huge change, but it will definitely affect the way the game is played.
While speculation on what might happen this season is still unclear, some say sources have told ESPN that the Players Association is likely to reject the proposal. One of the strongest arguments given is that the proposal seems to protect the MLB if the current COVID-19 situation worsens, and doesn’t do much to help players if games begin to get canceled.
If the MLBPA does decide to decline the proposal and doesn’t provide a counter offer sometime soon, the MLB season will continue as scheduled. Spring training would begin as early as mid-February.
Only time will tell what the season will hold for MLB players and their fans.