Report: MLB plans for 82-game season to start Fourth of July weekend

Players must approve revenue sharing as part of deal
Great empty GABP Reds ballpark aerial Sky 9.jpg
Posted at 2:52 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 18:35:05-04

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball owners have come up with a plan for a roughly 82-game season to start Fourth of July weekend in the team's home ballparks without fans, with the designated hitter added to the National League for 2020, a source told the Associated Press.

But the owners' plan calls the players union to accept revenue sharing (read that as pay cuts) in order to salvage a shortened season out of the COVID-19 pandemic. And that could be a deal breaker. The two sides are expected to meet Tuesday.

Under the owners' plan, which the union would have to approve:

  • Each team would play most games against opponents in its own division with interleague matchups limited to NL Central vs. AL Central, NL East vs. AL East and NL West vs. AL West.
  • Postseason play would be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four from each league.
  • Games would switch to spring training stadiums or neutral sites if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained in some cities. Toronto might have to play home games in Dunedin, Florida.
  • Spring training would start in early to mid-June.

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

Pitcher Sean Doolittle of the Nationals responded with a series of tweets expressing concern about the safety of players and their families.

A person familiar with the owners' decision revealed the plan to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the plan were not announced.

The designated hitter was adopted by the American League in 1973, but NL teams have only used it when playing at AL ballparks in postseason, interleague and spring training games.