Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.
This could benefit 200 people who lost their jobs in Turrialba after Rawlings Costa Rica laid them off in the face of the crisis affecting the world due to the coronavirus.
Rawlings Costa Rica, at its plant in Turrialba, manufactures the baseballs used in Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Coalition of Development Initiatives (Cinde) said, on April 21, in a statement, that Rawlings reaffirmed its commitment to Costa Rica and “will continue to operate in the country, hoping to rehire staff.”
MLB officials are slated to make a presentation to the union on Tuesday. An agreement with the players’ association is needed, and talks are expected to be difficult, according to ESPN, USA Today, The Athletic and NBC Sports.
The MLB plan becomes the first formal proposal for a major U.S. sports league to break out of the coronavirus-led hiatus, with the seasons of the NBA, Major League Soccer (MLS), and National Hockey League (NHL) detained by the pandemic.
The proposal would have players report to training camps starting in mid-June for about three weeks, either at baseball stadiums or at training sites in Florida and Arizona, where confinement rules have been relaxed.
The season would begin July 1 to 4 and the playoffs would expand from 10 to 14 teams, with two additional wild card clubs in the National and American Leagues. The playoffs would end in early November, just a little later than normal.
The teams would mainly play against clubs in their own division, minimizing travel and expenses. They would also face clubs from the same division in the opposite league.
CBSSports reports what the 2020 season may look like:
- All games will include a designated hitter.
- There will be no mound visits during the game, and pitching changes would be done from the dugout.
- There will be no spitting of sunflower seeds or chewing tobacco permitted.
- Once a player is removed from a game, he will be forced to leave the dugout, shower in the clubhouse and leave the facility.
- There will be absolutely no visitors, media members or any other people allowed in the clubhouse.
- There will be no instant replay.
- There will be no first- and third-base coaches on the field.
- Players may invite up to four people to each game, however, all guests must agree to be tested for COVID-19 and agree to contact tracing.
- All personnel, including players, will be temperature checked before gaining entrance to the ballpark.
- Players will also have to agree to contact tracing and every other day testing.