Report: MLB ‘unlikely’ to hit target date for 2020 season

Apr 5, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; A general view of the 2018 Opening Day logo on the field prior to the Washington Nationals home opener against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. New York Mets defeated Washington Nationals 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to bring baseball back more than two months after it suspended the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While confidence is growing that there will be an MLB season in 2020, the league might already be in danger of missing its target date for Opening Day.

Under the current proposal, which is now being discussed by players and owners, MLB would start an 82-game season on July 4. For that to happen, the league needs all sides on board along with approval from city officials in regions where teams would play. If everything goes according to plan, players would report for spring training 2.0 around June 10 and spend three weeks preparing for the season.

Unfortunately, the odds of that happening aren’t in MLB’s favor. Players from across the globe will need to return to their team’s facilities and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, per CDC guidelines. All players reporting for training will need to undergo an intake screening before practicing.

It’s why ESPN’s Jeff Passan told The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday that MLB is unlikely to hit its target dates for a return, given the logistics standing in the way.

Even if the players’ union and owners agree on a deal to bring baseball back this week, which seems unlikely from ESPN’s reporting, the plan couldn’t be finalized. MLB still needs to receive approval from health experts across the country and government officials must allow games to be played in stadiums. Meanwhile, MLB’s plan still hasn’t established safety protocols for umpires and there are already objections from the medical community.

Given the challenges and logistics that await MLB, starting the season in less than two months seems unrealistic. Players will require at least three weeks to prepare for a full season and a majority of them might not be at camp and cleared to practice until the middle of June.

It still seems likely that there will be an MLB season in 2020, especially given how hard the league has pushed to make this happen. Sadly, the idea of Opening Day taking place on July 4 seems like a dream that MLB will soon have to wake up from.