Does A Short-Season MLB Champ Deserve An Asterisk?

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and union chief Tony Clark met in Arizona on Tuesday for the first time during the sport’s contentious labor negotiations, a conclave that represented progress after Manfred had described the stalled talks as “a disaster” to ESPN earlier this week. The new proposal from Manfred would see a 2020 season starting as early as July 19 that includes a universal designated hitter, which would be extended into the next season as well. To add revenue in a year in which there could be no fans in stadiums, owners want to expand the playoffs to 16 teams — and keep the format in 2021 — and are proposing placing ads on jerseys. But perhaps the most important development — as it relates to getting baseball back this summer — was that the owners moved toward the player camp by agreeing to full prorated pay and proposing a 60-game schedule, though players would have to drop their right to file a grievance over the number of games played. The length of the season remains a sticking point — whether it’s closer to the owners’ preferred 60 games or the players’ latest proposal for 70 — and that number of games will make a difference to baseball fans, too. A season so truncated — regardless of how many games end up getting played — will be deemed by some to be illegitimate.

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