It’s opening day ... again. After a four-month delay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 MLB season will begin July 23, as the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals get things going.
That won’t be the only game that day, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants will also open the season July 23. All other 28 teams will open the season July 24.
The Yankees and Nationals game will begin at 7 p.m. ET on July 23. The Giants and Dodgers will start at 10 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN.
Things will look a lot different around the league in 2020. The 2020 MLB season will be only 60 games. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred set that figure after negotiations between the players and the owners broke down in the offseason.
In an attempt to limit travel, teams will play out their schedules based on regional opponents. Divisions will not change, though. A team will play 40 games in its division and will play 20 interleague games based on regional opponents. For example, the Chicago Cubs will play 40 games against National League Central opponents and 20 games against teams in the American League Central.
That type of schedule will create some interesting wrinkles, like the Yankees playing the Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays in six of their last seven series.
The league also intends to hold a number of special events during the season. On Aug. 13, the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals will play in the “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa. Three days later, MLB will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues. Jackie Robinson Day, which typically occurs in April, will take place Aug. 28. Finally, the league will hold Roberto Clemente Day on Sept. 9.
While MLB intends to play, holding a season in 2020 is far from a certainty. The league has already announced at least 38 positive coronavirus tests as players prepare to report to camp. Stars such as Freddie Freeman, Joey Gallo, Salvador Perez and Miguel Sanó have all tested positive for the virus. Other players — like David Price and Nick Markakis — have opted out of the season citing health concerns.
The league has also had issues supplying teams with tests and getting results turned around. A number of teams canceled workouts Monday after players did not receive test results over the weekend. The league released a statement Monday, saying it does “not expect a recurrence” of those issues.
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