Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association historically have had a rocky time at the negotiating table. Last year’s public back-and-forth became messy and resulted in a 60-game regular season that was mired with COVID-19 setbacks but still crowned the Los Angeles Dodgers as 2020 World Series Champions.
This year’s drama was consolidated into just a few days. On Monday, both MLB and MLBPA released statements announcing they are preparing to play the full 162-game season as originally scheduled and on time.
First, the MLBPA issued the following statement via Twitter:
MLB followed with a press release confirming the decision:
The announcements came just a day after reports surfaced of an MLB-proposed 154-game season. Under MLB’s rejected proposal, opening day reportedly would have been pushed back from April 1 to April 29, with the regular season extended a week and seven postseason berths for each league.
According to the MLBPA statement, the union did not support the idea of expanded playoffs nor the universal designated hitter. It appears the playoffs will revert to five-team fields for each league, with three division winners and two Wild Cards, and the National League will stop using designated hitters.
The delayed start was going to give Giants players like Tyler Beede (Tommy John surgery) and A’s players like Matt Chapman (hip surgery) and A.J. Puk (shoulder surgery) some extra rehab time for their respective injuries. The Giants and A’s also could have had more time to address needs via free agency, but now the clock is ticking.
Player health is paramount, but baseball fans should be excited to know that spring training is just weeks away. According to a recent letter from Giants CEO Larry Baer, pitchers and catchers can report starting on Feb. 15.
The Giants will hold spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz. and are slated to open the regular season April 1 on the road against the Seattle Mariners. The A’s will report to Mesa, Ariz. for spring training and are scheduled to host the Houston Astros on April 1 for their opening day matchup.