(When) Will the Season Start?

PseuFighter

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They seem bullish about a full schedule, which takes us well into November at this point, given off day limitations in the CBA. Wonder if they do anything to shake up / make the playoffs more exciting.
 

SemperFidelisSox

suzyn
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Doesn’t a new playoff format need to be part of the CBA or agreed upon by the players, or does the league have carte blanche to sort of make this up as they go along given the unique circumstances?
 

axx

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My vote right now is ask again in a week. I am not optimistic and you should plan on the season being cancelled.

They seem bullish about a full schedule, which takes us well into November at this point, given off day limitations in the CBA. Wonder if they do anything to shake up / make the playoffs more exciting.
I don't know what the Union would agree to but I don't see why they couldn't go well beyond that. Obviously Snow would be a problem. I saw a suggestion that they run the World Series at a neutral site in a warm weather city like Miami.
 

NDame616

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if they decide to cancel the whole season, the last thing we should be worrying about is a baseball team
 

axx

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if they decide to cancel the whole season, the last thing we should be worrying about is a baseball team
See the thing is what would the Union agree to. Say the panic lasts another two months. That's the middle of May. You could start the season on June 1st. That's not so bad.

But what if it's 4? Would it make sense to have a month and a half regular season? Would the Union agree to have the regular season end on Thanksgiving?
 

bankshot1

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If the medical experts are projecting CV runs for another 2 months, (mid-May) to be on the safe side, and assuming the CV infection curve is declining and the disease approaching over, MLB could shoot for early-mid June for opening day, and with a few double-headers might play a 100 game schedule without pushing the season to late November. They might also limit the post-season to 8 teams total. (1 WC each league).
 

BigMike

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If the medical experts are projecting CV runs for another 2 months, (mid-May) to be on the safe side, and assuming the CV infection curve is declining and the disease approaching over, MLB could shoot for early-mid June for opening day, and with a few double-headers might play a 100 game schedule without pushing the season to late November. They might also limit the post-season to 8 teams total. (1 WC each league).
I would love to see a few single admission double headers. I will admit those were my favorite days at the park growing up. Nothing else like them
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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They could go ahead without fans. They may not want to do that, but it is an option.
Without selling tickets, it will be hard to pay salaries. For me, crowd noise is part of the entertainment of sports on TV. Can you imagine Fisk's homer being hit in an empty Fenway Park?
 

Catcher Block

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Press release resulting from that conference call:

"Following last night’s newly updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance.

MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead. The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus."
 

axx

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Have to say it's pretty likely now the season is cancelled.
 

uncannymanny

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Players pushed to receive a full year of service time, which counts days toward free agency, arbitration and pension, even in the event of a canceled season. When MLB agreed to grant that, the path to a deal coming together was forged, sources said.

The union agreed not to sue the league for full salaries in the event that the 2020 season never takes place, and MLB will advance players $170 million over the next two months, sources said. The MLBPA will divvy up the lump sum among four classes of players, with the majority of it going to those with guaranteed major league contracts. If games are played, the advance will count against final salaries, which will be prorated.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has the discretion to shorten the 2020 draft to as few as five rounds, and it will be moved from June to sometime in July, sources said.

Manfred also can delay the 2020 international signing period, which was supposed to run from July 2, 2020, through June 15, 2021, to at the latest Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 15, 2021. MLB also has the right to shorten the 2021 draft to as few as 20 rounds and push back the next international signing period as well -- though international free agency might well be gone by then, as the league plans to pursue an international draft at the conclusion of the current collective bargaining agreement, which runs out in December 2021.

Sources said players drafted in 2020 will get only $100,000 of their bonus this year. The remaining amount will be split into payments made in July 2021 and July 2022.

Also, teams will be unable to trade draft picks or international slot money, sources said.


Mookie Betts, J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, among others, are guaranteed to be free agents come November regardless of the season's status. If the year is canceled, Betts might never play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded for him this offseason.

The agreement also calls for a transaction freeze, which bars teams from signing free agents, trading players and making roster moves.

And there will be a rejiggered setting for arbitration, the system that awards players with three, four and five years of service time with higher salaries. While arbitration is a numbers- and precedent-based system typically, the sides will change that to acknowledge the shorter schedule.

Any players punished with a drug suspension will serve the penalty in 2020, even if there is no season, sources said.
 

amRadio

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Feb 7, 2019
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I don't see how a full cancellation is evident at this point. Games in empty stadiums seems like a certainty, but losing a season before the 2022 negotiations seems like a disaster of a scale the owners would do anything to avoid. If there is a significant work stoppage in 2022 on the heels of a disaster cancellation this year I really wonder if a team or two could fold over that.
 

staz

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I listened to a lot of MLB Network on SXM today and the conventional wisdom is optimistically 144 games played from June through November with late season and playoff games at neutral warm weather parks. All speculation of course, but all the speculation was in this range.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Would that stretch the playoffs into December?

Next season would be interesting to see how pitchers respond to that.

Is there any precedent for scheduling doubleheader’s, but limiting those games to say 6 or 7 innings?
 

staz

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Would that stretch the playoffs into December?

Next season would be interesting to see how pitchers respond to that.

Is there any precedent for scheduling doubleheader’s, but limiting those games to say 6 or 7 innings?
Spitballing here, but assuming 6 weeks from now is enough time for communities around spring training sites in FL and AZ to get well beyond COVID-19's apex, a 30-day spring training part deux puts opening day at about 6/15 (70 games lost). A 144-game season (18 scrapped) is the number being talked about the most. In that case, 52 would need to be fit in to currently scheduled off days, via doubleheaders, and into October/November.

If the number of playoff spots are expanded, teams might very well have to decide in November if their 2020 playoff chances are worth the load management repercussions - as the reporting date for spring training 2021 is right around the corner. After a super compact 144 game season, will bubble teams be willing to pack up in late October, head down to a neutral site for 2 or 3 weeks of regular season games and keep the pedal floored in the hopes of qualifying for 1 of maybe 12 playoff spots? 144 games just doesn't pass the sniff test.

MLB crowned a champion in 1981 after a strike-shortened season of 108 or so games - which would only require that 16 games be fit in to the existing schedule.
 

donutogre

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I have to say at this point that any notion of getting in the majority of a normal season is ludicrous. As @staz mentions above... if we had an opening day around 6/15 70 games would be lost. That feels like a ton to get into this proposal. When you consider what a hotspot Florida is right now, I'd be really surprised if spring training could happen there in 6 weeks.
 

E5 Yaz

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When you consider what a hotspot Florida is right now, I'd be really surprised if spring training could happen there in 6 weeks.
At least fans would have no problem sitting six feet apart in Miami and the Trop
 

SemperFidelisSox

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The question I have for MLB and the other major sports is would they still restart their seasons if some players have Covid-19? Does each league need a clean bill of health to restart.
 

PseuFighter

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The question I have for MLB and the other major sports is would they still restart their seasons if some players have Covid-19? Does each league need a clean bill of health to restart.
To add here, would they stop the league again if even one player comes down with it once they restart? I sort of think this will be inevitable if we're looking at anytime this summer.
 

amRadio

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Looks like that Toronto ban wouldn't have an impact on MLB.

E: But I mean, it still doesn't look good for MLB 2020 right now.
 

PseuFighter

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I'm starting to think it's bad that MLB hasn't said a word about tickets purchased to date. A few weeks ago, sure, but since the season would have started, I think it's wrong. Given they're exploring options if they're able to resume, the should know by now how tickets will be handled.

For example, if they start on 7/1, and pick up the schedule from that point, then tickets from 7/1 (or whenever fans are allowed in) are valid. Anything prior would be a refund. If they rewrite the schedule, they should void all transactions (which is something they probably do not want to do) and put tickets on sale again from scratch. Nightmare scenario, as I mentioned elsewhere, is they rewrite the schedule and assign existing ticket-holders to new games. Second nightmare scenario is they void tickets sold but require them to be exchange for a date within 12 calendar months, which is what I believe many teams use for games rained out. I really hope they do not do either of these. Nobody would ever buy tickets in advance again. Regardless, I am sure they have thought this through and have answers they could provide to people in limbo.
 

djbayko

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I imagine they still don't know what they're going to do since there is so much uncertainty out there. We're still in the very beginning stage of this virus. I don't expect anything more from them than what we're getting.
 

pk1627

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MLB needs to set a timetable for addressing this. They have our money and it’s starting to feel like they have no intention of giving it back.

I’d like some portion of the season to be played to reset the cap. But at this point I’d MUCH prefer to simply watch on tv. I have some hope (though not much) they’ll allow opt outs of season packages as an option - with a credit to next year.
 

tims4wins

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MLB needs to set a timetable for addressing this. They have our money and it’s starting to feel like they have no intention of giving it back.

I’d like some portion of the season to be played to reset the cap. But at this point I’d MUCH prefer to simply watch on tv. I have some hope (though not much) they’ll allow opt outs of season packages as an option - with a credit to next year.
No one else seems to have a timetable. I get that you want your money back but it’s not so simple.
 

Eric Yu

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I don't know what "latest news" Yahoo is operating under, but their fantasy site just posted this update:

We have updated important dates for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball to reflect the latest news:
  • Season Start: 5/7
  • Live Drafts End: 6/21
  • Full Season Registration Ends: 7/5
  • All Drafts End: 7/6
We are working on adding more draft dates for Pro Leagues. We are constantly monitoring the situation and we will update our members with any new developments or decisions.
 

djbayko

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No one else seems to have a timetable. I get that you want your money back but it’s not so simple.
And the league will absolutely give the money back if games aren't played. That fear is absurd. Of course, they're going to do everything they can to maximize the number of rescheduled games so that they can keep the ticket revenue in accordance with the T's and C's.
 

axx

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MLB needs to set a timetable for addressing this. They have our money and it’s starting to feel like they have no intention of giving it back.
I will guess a drop dead date of June 1st with an Opening Day of July 1st. They might cancel the season before then but I could see them holding out (false) hope that a season can be played.
 

Oppo

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I will guess a drop dead date of June 1st with an Opening Day of July 1st. They might cancel the season before then but I could see them holding out (false) hope that a season can be played.
If you were to target July 1, might as well open up July 4 with all teams playing to appeal to the country’s patriotism and unity. Everyone in their Stars and Stripes uniforms, game start times spread out from 11 am EST to 11 pm EST.
 

Harry Hooper

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WSJ Sports simulated the baseball season thousands of times to figure out how radically a shortened year could change the playoff picture


with every day that passes, the 2020 season gets shorter and shorter. And while it may be impossible to know exactly what MLB’s season will look like, it’s possible to answer a slightly different question: How would a shortened season affect every team’s chances of making the playoffs?

The Wall Street Journal ran a program to quantify precisely this. From various starting dates—beginning on March 26, when Opening Day should have been, and then every two weeks after that all the way until August—we simulated the season 10,000 times for each start date.

Tens of thousands of simulations showed that, as the season shrinks, the best teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees see their chances plummet. Wild-card contenders like the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays see their chances slide. Meanwhile, teams that really have no business playing playoff baseball in a 162-game campaign—such as the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres—suddenly have a chance.
 

DJnVa

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Yahoo reporting that MLB is considering starting the season in Florida or Arizona, with no fans.
 

snowmanny

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There is some poetic justice in the dropping odds of the Yankees or Dodgers winning it all The 1981 MLB season turned into a little bit of a lottery not only because it was shortened, but also because they had split-seasons and expanded playoffs. And famously the team with the best record in the NL East (St. Louis) did not make the playoffs and the team with the best record in MLB (Cincinnati) did not make the playoffs. In the AL East the Orioles had a better record than the Yankees but failed to make the playoffs (although Yankee fans will attribute that, possibly correctly, to the fact that the Yankees had clinched a playoff spot before play resumed in early August and the supposition that New York was just playing out the string until October.)

And of course the Yankees and Dodgers ended up facing each other in the World Series for the third time in five years.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Yahoo reporting that MLB is considering starting the season in Florida or Arizona, with no fans.

If games are played with no fans, there is likely to be some adjustments to player salaries. An average of 30% of revenue comes from ticket sales and it's also likely that local T.V. networks will want to pay less for games in empty stadiums.
 

PseuFighter

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I would be sad if they didn't wait until all clear and play with fans in attendance. I get there's obviously a ton of money involved. I also get that it's feeling less and less likely that they'll be able to play this summer with fans in attendance.
 

Harry Hooper

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No fans = no ticket takers, ushers, and the like, but putting on games would still require grounds crew, clubhouse staff, trainers, and a bunch of other people in the park. Also, tv/radio production crews.

Beyond that, it could be a non-starter since the players won't be able to resist spitting all over the place.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Ken Rosenthal in the Athletic is reporting similar:


MLB is prioritizing public health as it examines all possibilities, sources say. The season, at least initially, could be played in Florida or more likely Arizona, where spring training parks are more concentrated. But the logistics of quarantining 30 teams in one area would be extremely complex and potentially controversial, sources say, requiring local, state and federal government cooperation and resources that might be necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Baseball is a secondary concern at a time when thousands in the U.S. are dying from COVID-19. The possibility of the sport returning this summer in stadiums open to fans appears increasingly remote. But if the season could be played safely in empty parks, without disrupting efforts to save lives, the sport could play a restorative role for the country, as it did during World War II and after 9/11.
“Your margin of error is so small,” one baseball official said.

As an example, the official cited the possibility of a hotel worker going home, catching the virus and bringing it back into the baseball environment the next day. The effect might be similar to what occurs on a cruise ship. Infections would spread rapidly, and the sport again would need to shut down.

Diverting resources from health care would be another concern. Baseball would need to conduct wide-ranging testing for the virus, isolate anyone who gets sick and provide proper medical attention. Such an effort would require outside assistance, the kind of resources the league could not justify drawing away from the general population in the middle of a public health crisis.
Playing in empty parks would be better than not playing, but still would create a shortfall for baseball, which generated a record $10.7 billion in revenue last season, according to Forbes. The sport would collect revenue from its local and national television partners and advanced-media ventures, but not from fans who buy tickets, pay for parking and purchase concessions.

The players, who already have agreed to prorated salaries if the 2020 season is shortened, almost certainly would be asked to accept further reductions in pay. The owners, meanwhile, might need to consider sharing local television revenue to balance the disparity between bigger and smaller markets on a short-term basis.

Such compromises might be necessary if the alternative to baseball with no fans was no baseball at all. One league official says he is not particularly worried about the economic issues playing in empty parks would present, calling them “math problems.” Keeping fans, players and others healthy would be a far greater challenge, one that, at least short-term, can not necessarily be solved.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Ha, good luck allowing the players to play all their games in AZ. I'm guessing the states where the teams are located do not want to lose the tax revenue from having players never playing there
 

curly2

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Seeing how Asia seems to be dealing with a second wave makes me think -- for the first time -- there won't be a season.

But if July 1 is the cutoff date to start, I don't think MLB should officially pull the plug before June 1.