Baseball is back after MLB, players agree to July 1 report date, health protocols

Major League Baseball finally has a plan in place for the 2020 season. On Tuesday, the players union first agreed to a July 1 report date for Spring Training 2.0 as MLB seeks to begin a coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, according to various reports.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan also reports the sides have reached an agreement on health and safety protocols for the 60-game season imposed by commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday. The season is expected to open on July 23 or July 24.

MLB had given the players union 24 hours to OK the so-called “operating manual” for 2020, which includes details on how the league plans to combat coronavirus spread. The sides went beyond the deadline, but finally came to agreement after months of stalemates.

The MLBPA was quick to confirm the reports, which allowed baseball fans to express joy for the first time since March.

Agreeing to the health and safety protocols proved tougher than a report date since the world at large is still trying to figure that out and things are changing on a daily basis. However, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported there were no major hold ups, which allowed an agreement to be reached Tuesday night.

The commissioner-imposed season comes after the players union and owners couldn’t find common ground in a long back-and-forth of negotiations. The players ultimately rejected the final offer from owners, knowing that Manfred would institute a season of his liking.

While money was the sticking point in negotiations, recent events have proven that baseball has more to worry about in its return. Last week, MLB closed all 30 spring training sites as reports of positive coronavirus tests among players and staff members totaled 40 people league-wide in a week.

The Athletic’s Jayson Stark also reported a string of roster-related rules and important dates for fans to keep in mind.

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