Breaking down MLB’s 80-game season proposal
May 9, 2020
Major League Baseball is reportedly considering an abbreviated 80-game season beginning in July, according to Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago. Under the proposal, games would be played without fans in attendance.
The proposal reportedly includes MLB teams exclusively playing games within their own divisions and against geographically adjacent divisions. For example, the five teams in the American League Central would contest one another and corresponding teams from the National League Central.
Major League Baseball representatives also aim for teams to play as many games as possible at their home stadiums in an effort to limit travel. Additional home games also allow players to isolate with their families and potentially blunt the transmission of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the proposal, the MLB postseason format expands to seven teams per league, mirroring a reformatted postseason model explored in the offseason.
However, the MLB and Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA) are expected to reach a stalemate regarding reductions in player salaries. MLB representatives aim to introduce a prorated salary model atop existing pay cuts–the MLBPA agreed to reduced salaries back in March– to compensate for lost revenue.
Initial plans to examine the viability of neutral site stadiums failed to progress as players, coaches and team personnel expressed concern over leaving their families. Furthermore, traveling to and from states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida introduces a logistics logjam.
MLB officials suspended Spring Training in March amid growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. After MLB officials formally present their proposal, representatives from the MLBPA will have the opportunity to submit a counteroffer.