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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