Major League Baseball is finally back.
UPDATE (Tuesday, June 23 at 8:41 p.m. ET): The remaining health and safety issue has been resolved, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association. The season will happen, which is great news.
All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps.— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 24, 2020
--End of Update--
The negotiations between the MLB and MLB Players Association have dragged out for months, with both sides having rejected several proposals over that time. However, it appears we finally have a pathway to a 2020 season.
Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday evening that the MLBPA has agreed to play a 60-game season, although one more health-and-safety matter needs to be resolved.
The Major League Baseball Players Association has agreed to report to training camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season, sources tell ESPN, but deal is not finalized yet.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
One last health-and-safety hurdle to get over and Major League Baseball will be back a week from tomorrow.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post and USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale provided further details:
Keep in mind that if/when MLB/PA agree to a health/safety protocol, it will be a living document, updated as best practices/new info for dealing with COVID-19 are revealed.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 23, 2020
#MLB and the #MLBPA continue to exchange ideas with the health and safety protocols. There are no major snags. The union already informed MLB that it plans to play, and be in spring training camps by July 1 with a 60-game season starting July 24-26 weekend.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 23, 2020
Of course, we shouldn't get too excited until a formal agreement is announced by both sides. There have been numerous reports in recent weeks of progress being made, only to have each side reject what the other was proposing.
This time could be different, though. Time is running out, and both sides would be wise to strike a deal and avoid the potential disaster of a missed season.
If an agreement between the MLB and MLBPA is ultimately reached, we could have five of the major North American sports leagues playing games and/or holding training camps in July. The MLB season would start July 24, while the NBA (July 30th) and NHL (TBD) both are expected to resume their 2019-20 seasons later in the month, which is also the same time frame that NFL training camps could begin. The MLS also will kick off a World Cup-style tournament on July 8.