Red Sox baseball returns thanks to MLB/MLBPA agreement
WE’RE BACK, BAAABBBYYYY!!! Now that I have that out of the way, what a long and frustrating road this has been. The back and forth battle between the MLB and MLBPA felt like it would never end, especially after this past weekend. Thankfully, today both sides got what they wanted in the negotiations and we’ll be seeing the Red Sox play baseball in 2020.
As reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the final step in getting the deal done all came down to a very important point, family. In the initial offers, the players themselves were covered but not those immediate family members that may be more susceptible to COVID-19. That all changed with today’s agreement.
At first, only players who were at higher risk could opt-out of the season while still being paid and earning service time. After today, any player who cohabitates with a high-risk individual can choose to opt-out of 2020 while still being paid and earn towards their service. That’s a massive bump for the players not only on the surface of safety but also in peace of mind.
As someone who not only writes about the sport but has also been a lifelong fan, today feels like Christmas. The MLBPA released a quick statement via Twitter as well confirming that all of the issues had been resolved and that players would soon report.
The Red Sox are heading back to spring training
So, now that we seemingly have both sides on the same page what does it mean for the season? Well, players will report to spring training or summer training, I guess, on July 1st. Camps will be conducted at the team’s home base, meaning the Red Sox will be working out of Fenway Park.
As far as the season is concerned, we’re looking at 60 games with divisional play being a heavy factor in the schedule. Teams will face a mix of divisional rivals, as well as, the opposing league’s divisional teams. So the Sox will be facing the usual suspects in the AL East and now the teams that call the NL East home. There will also be a universal DH, which was already set to go into effect in 2021.
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Opening Day is lining up with either July 23/24, giving squads three weeks to get back into form for the season. Teams will begin the season with an expanded roster of 30 players but will need to whittle it down to the standard 26 by the 29th day of the season. The trade deadline will still be in effect for 2020 but will fall on August 31st, instead of July 31st.
Finally, teams will also be allowed a three-person “taxi squad.” These players are to be non-roster with one needing to be a catcher. They won’t receive service time and also get paid a minor-league salary.
The biggest step in this entire process is ensuring the health and safety of not only the players but all personnel and their families. Per Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com, Everyone involved will received temperature checks twice a day while also having COVID testing every other day, and antibody testing monthly. Again, any high-risk players or those that live with someone that may be high-risk can opt-out of 2020 without penalty.
I, for one, can’t wait to see the Red Sox once again take the field at Fenway Park. Though we won’t be able to do so in person this season, just being able to watch our squad will be nice. With a shorter season, the Sox have a great chance at making another charge for the postseason. They’ll also be rewarded for the trade that shall not be named from this winter that will reset the CBT threshold. In just a few short weeks, Red Sox Nation will be rocking and rolling once again!