ST. LOUIS —
Major League Baseball has reportedly proposed a new plan in hopes of resuming the 2020 season as soon as late June.
The latest start date has been said to be July 2.
The season would pick up right where it left off. USA Today’ MLB Columnist Bob Nightengale said it’s very important that each team has time to prepare for regular season games after weeks off without proper game experience.
“It would take three weeks of spring training,” Nightengale said. “The teams would report back to their own Spring Training sites. So, the Cardinals would head to Jupiter.”
The regular season would begin immediately afterwards, consisting of roughly 100 games.
Here’s where things shake up a bit more. Instead of a National League and American League, the 30 MLB teams would be divided into three divisions based on geographic location.
The east, west, and central divisions. The Cardinals would be in the central division with nine other teams closest geographically.
“So teams like the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians,” Nightengale said. “Teams that were in the American League, now will be playing alongside the Cardinals.”
Teams will only play other teams within their division during the regular season, and the regular season would be played into at least mid-October before an expanded form of postseason would begin.
“A postseason like we’ve never seen before,” Nightengale said. “There are 30 teams. Wouldn’t surprise me if we saw 18 or 20 teams make the playoffs. Maybe some type of round robin, or even do like a, baseball version of March Madness.”
The most important piece still missing from the puzzle is how MLB plans on providing enough COVID-19 testing for its players and staff on a regular basis to ensure operations run safely.
Nightengale said perhaps the biggest concern with this plan is the chance that it won’t full protect the health and safety of players and staff.
“Someone tests positive and spreads to the team,” Nightengale said. “Then you’re talking 15 or 20 players, or something like that. Then what do you do? I’m sure baseball’s biggest fear is when you start up, you don’t want to shut it down again.”
“They don’t want the optics of, ‘Hey, we’re million dollar ball players. We get testing, you don’t. Because we have more money than you.’ So, that’s not gonna happen. It’s gotta be widespread testing to ensure that they’re not taking tests from somebody else." Nightengale said.
MLB is working with health experts and will need approval before moving forward, to ensure the league will be able to access public testing, without taking away tests from the general public.
Nightengale said the league will also negotiate with the players union, which will most likely take two weeks minimum before releasing more information.
Because of the condensed schedule, the Cardinals announced Wednesday that they’re issuing a refund policy for April and May games.
Season ticket holders will receive an account credit to be used on a future game, but can also request a refund through an e-mail or by directly contacting an account executive who handles ticket sales.
Single-game and theme ticket buyers will be refunded the full price.