Earlier this week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told CNN that the league will be working with a lab in Utah to perform testing on players, coaches, and staff to help ensure everyone’s safety once the season begins. After a version of MLB’s plan was leaked, we have learned that the league’s plan will include doing roughly 10,000 tests per week.
While that’s certainly a lot of tests to perform week after week, Manfred has received assurance from the lab that all tests will have a turnaround time of 24 hours to help the league learn about positive results as soon as possible.
Is It Still Baseball?
In addition to testing, MLB is going to roll out a lot of new rules to help keep players safe. For starters, players not in the game would sit in the stands at least six feet apart from one another. The league is also going to prohibit fist bumps, high-fives, spitting, sunflower seeds, and chewing tobacco.
The league will also ask base coaches not to approach runners or umpires and will ask fielders not to socialize with base runners. Players will also be discouraged from showering at stadiums and barred from taking taxis or using ride-sharing apps while on the road.
Exactly how MLB will enforce such measures remains to be seen. They seem more to be guidelines and aspirations than rules that will be enforced.
We’re not yet at the point of owners and players getting into a serious argument over money while they figure out a way to play the season. As of now, players are set to earn a prorated salary based on the number of games played. The league’s current stance is that paying prorated salaries would result in an average loss of $640,000 per game, resulting in a total loss of nearly $4 billion.
The players made the deal for a prorated salary when the owners believed fans would be in attendance when the season started. That is unlikely to be the case, at least at first, which has dramatically changed the economics of the situation.
Never fear, baseball fans, Bryce Harper is here to save the day. Harper has never been shy about sharing his opinion and has now taken to Instagram with his own proposal for the season.
His ideas involve splitting the league into East and West divisions to keep limit traveling. He also says that teams can play games every day in July, August, September, October, and half of November with an off day every other Monday and 7-inning double-headers on Sunday. That would allow for teams to play 135 games, which he believes would be feasible with 30-man rosters and a 6-man rotation.
Harper then proposes a 10-team playoff at a neutral site similar to the College World Series and a two-day break once the field is whittled down to two teams for the league to hold an All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. It probably won’t happen, but it’s not the worst idea we’ve heard over the past couple of months.
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