Summer (Spring) Training Starts For 2020 MLB Short Season


Last updated 6/30/2020 at 10:17am

For the second time this year training for the 2020 Major League Baseball season

began today when players reported to their respective 30 teams.

Commissioner Bob Manfred on June 22 made a conference call with all major

league owners and has decided to schedule a 60-game season that will have “opening

day” July 23 or 24 and will end Sept. 27, covering 66 or 67 days.

The shortened-season format will have teams playing 10 games against each of

their four division foes and four games against each of the five teams from the other

league’s corresponding division, according to an article appearing last week in the

Houston Chronicle.

The rosters will start at 30 players before cutting down to 28 and then the agreed-

upon 26 for this season.

The article points out that the season will be 102 games shorter than the regular

182-game season and will cost the players $2.52 billion.

A couple of new wrinkles put into the games for this season include a designated

hitter for the first time ever in the National League games and for extra-inning games

after the ninth inning, teams will begin each half inning with a runner on second base.

However, there will be no change in the post-season as each league will have its

three division winners plus two wild cards in the playoffs.

So, just like that, after nearly three months of ugly and bitter negotiations that

became national news, we finally have a baseball season—if the pandemic allows it.

According to this week’s edition of USA Today Sports Weekly, the 38-member

executive board of the MLB Players Union voted 33-5 not to accept MLB’s proposal of

60 games early in the day.

“There finally will be a season, but the acrimony sure has sucked the soul out of

the joy of the announcement.

“There will be lower-paid players who actually will be playing for free the rest of

the year, considering they already received their $285,000 in upfront money and will earn

less with just 60 games remaining,” the article pointed out.

There may be no bonuses for players making the World Series, let alone the post-

season if fans still aren’t permitted in the stadiums.

Players typically receive their bonuses from the gate receipts in the first three

games of the Division Series and the first four games of the League Championship Series

and the World Series.

Players and coaches will be prohibited from entering the video replay room

during the 2020 season, potentially depriving them of the technology some need to make

mid-game adjustments.

MLB will allow radio broadcasters to travel with their teams, but the Houston

Astros say they have not decided if Robert Ford and Steve Sparks will make West Coast

road trips.

The Astros’ television crew of play-by-play announcers Todd Kalas and Geoff

Blum and reporter Julia Morales will call home games at Minute Maid Park but will not

travel with the team. They will call road games off monitors from the AT&T SportsNet

Southwest studios in downtown Houston, according to the Chronicle.

The Astros last week informed season ticket holders that their 2020 accounts will

be rolled over to 2021 and that they can use money from those accounts to buy 2020

tickets if games with fans are allowed at Minute Maid Park this season.

The four-paragraph notice did not instruct ticket holders how to request or obtain

refunds for 2020 season ticket purchases. A spokesperson said ticket holders can request

refunds through the ballclub’s ticket office.

They forgot to add the clause “the money will come in handy just in time for your

Christmas shopping.”

KWICKIES…Now that Cam Newton is with the New England Patriots, the big

debate on ESPN’s “First Take” Monday was whether Newton will take the Pats farther in

the playoffs than Tom Brady will take his new team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m

putting my money on the 41-year-old Brady because I believe he has many more

offensive weapons to work with.

And speaking of the Patriots, they were fined $1.1 million and will lose a 2021

third-round draft pick for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during

a game between the Bengals and the Browns last season. The team’s production crew

will not be allowed to shoot games in the 2020 season.

Dustin Johnson caught fire last weekend while second-round leader Phil

Mickelson fizzled on the final two rounds with a pair of 71s as Johnson won the PGA

Tour-Travelers Championship by one stroke over Kevin Streelman at the fan-free TPC

River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. Mickelson, who was playing for the first time since

turning 50, was red-hot Thursday and Friday with rounds of 64 and 63 but faltered

Saturday and Sunday to finish tied for 24 th at 11 under.

Former Washington Assistant coach Joe Bugel, regarded as one of the top

offensive line coaches in NFL history, died Sunday at age 80. Bugel was the creator of

“The Hogs”, the dominant offensive lines that led the team to three Super Bowls. Bugel

also was the head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals for four seasons.

JUST BETWEEN US… Oldtimers like myself will have a difficult time

dropping the “Chain Gang” moniker from West Orange-Stark’s state-prominent defense

that has helped give the Mustangs the winningest percentage and making them one of the

most feared high school football teams in the state of Texas. Now they will be known as

the “Blue Link” defense, the choice of Head Coach Cornel Thompson who has made the

stellar defense what it has been over the past few decades.


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