La Feria News

Major League Baseball finally works out agreement to play ball

By DAVE FAVILA
LFN

Major League Baseball will soon be back!

After several failed negotiations between owners, the players union and the commissioner, a deal was finally agreed upon on June 23 for the 2020 season to begin play on July 23 or 24.

“We have provided the Players Association a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

According to reports, players could report to training camps by July 1 and MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach aimed at facilitating a safe return.

In order to limit travel, the 60-game schedule will include 10 games for each team against its four divisional rivals and 20 games against the opposite league’s geographical corresponding division. For example, the Houston Astros, who are in the AL West, will play teams from the NL West, while the Yankees, who are in the AL East, will play opponents from the NL East.

Several other rules were also instituted to help speed up games so that teams limit contact with each other as much as possible. For example, extra-inning games will be played in accordance with international rules where each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The batter who made the final out of the previous inning would be that runner. In addition, the designated hitter rule will be used in both leagues this season.

Finally, but not of least importance, a myriad of health and safety guidelines will be followed. COVID-19 testing will be administered to players every other day, players not likely to play in a game, such as the next day’s starting pitcher, will be separated from the team, either in the stands or in another area, and all players will remain six feet apart and wear masks at all times while in the dugout or bullpen.

Also, no spitting or chewing tobacco will be allowed this season along with no celebratory contact such as high-fives, hugs or even fist bumps.

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