New MLB plan calls for 76-game season
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is making another try to start the coronavirus-delayed season in early July. The proposal calls for a 76-game regular season, expanding the playoffs from 10 teams to as many as 16 and allowing players to earn about 75% of their prorated salaries. Players have refused cuts beyond what they agreed to in March shortly after the pandemic began, part of baseball’s again acrimonious labor relations. The arduous negotiations have jeopardized plans to hold opening day around the Fourth of July in ballparks without fans and provide entertainment to a public still emerging from months of quarantine. MLB says it can’t afford to play in ballparks without fans, and in May the owners proposed an 82-game schedule. The union countered with a 114-game schedule at prorated pay that would extend the regular season by a month through October.
Major League Baseball is talking about having as many as 16 teams in the playoffs this year if the season is able to start after a long delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The 16 teams would be a big increase over the 10 clubs that have made the postseason in recent years. In fact, it would mean more than half of the 30 clubs get into the playoffs. That’s been more common in the other major sports, but would represent a huge change for baseball. MLB presented that plan in its latest proposal to players in an effort to start a shortened season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Over the years, baseball’s amateur draft has featured big hits, bad calls and even back-to-back home runs. Now, it’s about to enter the next phase of an ongoing development — same as all those young prospects who get picked every year. This year’s event, which begins Wednesday night, was slashed from 40 rounds to five because of the coronavirus pandemic. And with more permanent changes possibly coming, including a new home on the horizon, the June draft that began in 1965 might never look the same.
NFL sends plan to teams for return to facilities
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL and the players’ union have sent a planner to the 32 teams outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities. A memo written by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFL Players Association describes protocols focusing on screening, testing, and infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, including response for new infections. Also included are instructions on proper facility access, cleaning and disinfecting; physical distancing; hygiene, health education and medical services. There are instructions on food preparation; supplies; and team travel. No timetable has been set for the return of most players to team complexes. Only players rehabilitating injuries have been allowed to enter the buildings.