Let’s Play Ball Finally

Major League Baseball is set to play a 60-game season this year

Brian Barefield | 6/26/2020, 11:30 a.m.
If 2020 hasn’t taught us anything else, we have learned that nothing is ever done in a normal fashion on ...

If 2020 hasn’t taught us anything else, we have learned that nothing is ever done in a normal fashion on a day-to-day basis and this past Tuesday was no different.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association finally came to an agreement on a 60-game 2020 season and now are waiting on the players to sign off on a health-and-safety protocol. Training camps are set to begin on July 1st with the first pitch to be thrown out on July 24th.

“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement to the media. “We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”

The MLB has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which shut down all Spring Training Camps and has delayed the start of the season by two months. There are some strict stipulations that must be followed by all teams that the MLB has implemented.

All coaches and players along with the support staff for all teams will be tested for the coronavirus every other day during all MLB activities. Any positive test will designate the individual for an immediate quarantine. Two negative tests on record is the only way anyone associated with the day-to-day activities can return to their duties with the team.

There are also some special rules that MLB has implemented into its shortest season ever in the history of the game. Here are just a few:

• During all extra-inning games in the regular season, each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The batter who made the final out in the previous inning (or a pinch-runner for that batter) would be that runner.

• The designated-hitter rule will be used in both leagues in 2020.

• Players who are not scheduled to play such as pitchers or players given the day off for rest will be assigned an area by the team or visiting team with social distancing rules (at least six feet apart) in effect. If a player who is not participating wants to stay in the dugout, they must wear masks at all time. There will be no contact such as fists bumps, homerun celebrations with other players, high-fives, etc. Absolutely no spitting or chewing of any tobacco products.

The late start of the season has benefitted the hometown Houston Astros the most. Their number one starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, who was scheduled to miss the start of the season due to surgery he had in March on his right groin, is back healthy.

Houston is also happy to welcome back RHP Lance McCullers Jr., who is coming off Tommy John surgery he had back in 2018. The 2017 All-Star missed the entire 2019 season but has completed his rehab and will be a very nice addition to the rotation.