After an almost three-month absence of major league sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, many sports leagues are now releasing plans to resume their seasons and scheduling games between teams. Following a delayed start and prolonged negotiations, Major League Baseball (MLB) is the latest professional sports league to announce plans to save their 2020 season from an indefinite hiatus. To prioritize the health and safety of their players and staff members, the MLB has implemented some new operational changes that promote healthy social distancing practices and lay the groundwork for future seasons.
When Will Major League Baseball Be Returning?
Players reunited with their teams to participate in spring training-related activities on July 1, 2020. The 2020 MLB season is expected to begin July 23 or 24.
7 Key Facts About Major League Baseball’s Return
Returning Schedule Structure
60 games will be played in total during the 2020 MLB season. 20 of these games will be interleague games. The other 40 games will see each team facing off with rival teams in their divisions.
Official Coronavirus-Related Inactive List
Any players who either have the coronavirus or exhibit signs of having the coronavirus will be put on a designated “inactive list.” Players on this list will not be allowed to play in any games or practice with teammates. There is no official time frame that players can expect to remain on this list.
Time Limit for Trading
Teams will have until August 31, 2020, to make any trades.
Return of Team-Related Transactions
The ability to make team-related transactions resumed on June 26. This allows teams to once again make trades.
Teams of Unsigned Players
Two teams are expected to be composed of players who were not signed to other teams this season. Nashville is expected to be the hub city for these two teams. The players on these teams will continue to be paid to ensure that they are able to practice and retain their skills in the event that a signed player needs to be replaced.
For this new season, there will be a designated hitter that will hit on behalf of pitchers. This rule has been implemented to both limits the number of contact pitchers has with other players and to reduce their chances of injury. Another rule that will be implemented includes the placement of a runner on second base during every half-inning in extras. This rule will help to reduce the lengths of games.
Teams will be creating rosters comprised of 60 players for spring training-related activities and 30 players for the actual season. Following the first two weeks after the start of the season, the number of players will reduce by two. Following the next two weeks after that, the number of players will again be reduced by two, leaving teams with a final roster of 26 players.
Major League Baseball Insurance
Insurance Office of America (IOA) has a long history of providing increased protection, peace of mind, and value-added coverage to professional sports leagues in the LPGA, NHL, NFL, and NBA. While IOA is not currently partnered with any Major League Baseball teams, IOA chairman and CEO Heath Ritenour is a passionate fan of the sport and endeavors to add a ball team to IOA’s impressive roster of sports clients.