There could be baseball during the 2020 holidays, with USA Today reporting Friday that both Major League Baseball and its players are willing to extend the season until Thanksgiving in order to preserve as much of the schedule as possible.
USA Today also reported that under a deal reached Friday, players with guaranteed contracts will start receiving an advance of $5,000 a day for 60 days, up to a maximum of $300,000. Players would be obligated to give the money back if a season is played.
ESPN reported Friday that the deal includes a stipulation in which games will not resume until a ban on mass gatherings is lifted, although neutral-site games and games without fans are options that can be revisited.
The plan to extend the season until Thanksgiving is slightly less ambitious than the one super-agent Scott Boras proposed to the Los Angeles Times this week that would put a potential Game 6 of the World Series on Christmas Day.
Scheduling of games into late November and December could force the use of neutral-site venues in warm-weather cities, or in cities with domed stadiums, although few details were revealed in the Thanksgiving plan that was reported on Twitter.
Baseball’s Opening Day was set to take place Thursday, but the coronavirus pandemic halted the schedule indefinitely. A best-case scenario reportedly has spring training resuming in May, with a start to the season in June, although the delay could be longer, if games are even played at all.
The intention of Boras’ plan was to preserve a 162-game regular season, while the Thanksgiving plan would be done “just to play as many games resembling a full season as possible,” according to USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale.
Nightengale also reported Friday that rosters could be expanded to 29 players for the first month after play resumes. That is up from the 26-man rosters which were scheduled to be in place for the first time this season.
There is still no word on what will happen to the All-Star Game, which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
—Field Level Media