Major League Baseball recently announced plans to move forward with an abbreviated 2020 season amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a 60-game season after weeks of testy negotiations between the league and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA). After the two sides finalized health and safety protocols, players began reporting for a second “spring” training last week.
As things stand, the 2020 MLB Opening Day will be held on July 23, but there has not been an official schedule released.
The 2020 MLB schedule is set to be released Monday morning, sources told CBS Sports HQ. As we wait for the 60-game slate, here’s a refresher on what we already know about the 2020 MLB season schedule:
Schedule will be regionally based
MLB teams are going to play 40 games within their division and 20 interleague games. Teams would only face division rivals and the corresponding geographic division in the other league to keep the games regional. For example, the Astros and Dodgers will play each other, as will other teams in the AL West and NL West.This will limit travel, in the hopes of lowering the chance for a COVID-19 outbreak. The new regionally-based schedule will also eliminate the need for cross-country flights during the regular season.
Yankees-Nationals on Opening Day
The highlight of Opening Day will be the Yankees at Nationals Park against the defending World Series champions. It’s a matchup that will likely feature an ace-off between the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. The Dodgers are expected to host the rival Giants in the other July 23 nationally televised game, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Last season, the Yankees racked up 103 regular season wins and hit 306 home runs before losing to the Astros in six games in the ALCS. The Nationals, of course, went on a run in last year’s postseason, defeating the Brewers in the NL Wild Card Game, Dodgers in five games in the NLDS and swept the Cardinals before overtaking the Astros in seven games in the World Series.
Red Sox at Fenway for Opening Day
The Red Sox will reportedly begin their 2020 campaign at Fenway Park. The Red Sox kicked off their second round of training camp on Friday. The club opened camp with 48 players selected to their 60-player pool of eligible players for the season.
The Red Sox will enter the abbreviated season with a Mookie Betts-less roster for the first time in six years after the club traded their homegrown MVP to the Dodgers. They also are going to enter the 2020 season with the baggage of a sign-stealing scandal and new manager in Ron Roenicke.
White Sox-Cardinals for Field of Dreams game?
As things stand, MLB is proceeding with the plan to play at the ‘Field of Dreams’ ballpark in Dyersville, Iowa. The game is scheduled for Aug. 13 on the diamond where the movie “Field of Dreams” was shot in 1988. The game was originally scheduled to be a matchup between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. But, now, the Cardinals could replace the Yankees in the game since a Yankees-White Sox series would go against the spirit of MLB’s remade schedule, which limits teams to playing their divisional rivals and geographical counterparts.
The league announced that construction at the site is continuing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was for the ballpark to hold up to 8,000 fans, but it’s unlikely that any will be allowed to attend. An official announcement has not yet been made.