June 24, 2020 08:18
U.S. Major League Baseball announced Monday that it will proceed with a coronavirus-shortened season this year after the players' union rejected a negotiated deal over a similar abbreviated season.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said team owners have approved of a plan that includes a 60-game season that will begin in late July under the terms of an agreement reached with the MLB Players Association back on March 26.
Manfred said the players' union must inform by Tuesday afternoon that its members can report to their home ballparks by July 1 for at least three weeks of pre-season training, and whether they agree on an operating manual setting out a set of health and safety protocols. All games will be played without fans present in the stands.
The deal rejected by the MLB Players Association included expanding the number of playoff teams from 10 to 16, establishing a US$25 million postseason players pool, forgiving $33 million in salary advances and the chance to receive 104 percent of their prorated salaries.
Baseball's traditional pre-season spring training period was abruptly cut short in mid-March as the COVID-19 epidemic took hold in the U.S., and eventually shut down all professional, collegiate and secondary school athletic events. But the virus continues to impact all sports, including baseball, with five members of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise recently testing positive for the virus.
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