2016 MLB Draft

Report: MLB 'cautiously optimistic' of plan to start 2020 season in late June

Report: MLB 'cautiously optimistic' of plan to start 2020 season in late June

Major League Baseball is cautiously optimistic that it can start the 2020 season in late June, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Per Nightengale’s report, MLB is considering a plan that entails abolishing the American and National Leagues in 2020, curating three divisions of 10 teams. Clubs would be realigned based on geography, only playing within the newly formed divisions.

Games would be played in home ballparks without fans (rather than spring training or minor league sites).

RELATED: MLB has recently discussed starting 2020 season in Arizona, Texas and Florida

This plan is the latest idea for a potential 2020 baseball schedule. As has been the case with previously reported possibilities, this proposal is contingent on the approval of medical experts and expanded COVID-19 testing capacity, which is currently unavailable to the country.

For the Cubs and White Sox, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she can envision a scenario where baseball returns to Chicago this summer. However, she said it would likely be without fans and added that the city is “a ways away” from that scenerio. 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May, and there’s currently no telling what will happen come June 1. It’s unclear how this proposal would be affected by stay-at-home orders expanding past May in MLB home cities.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently discussed a scenario in which fans could attend games while social distancing, though he said it's more likely that games will be played without fans in attendance.

“That is possible, but it’s going to be the virus that determines what the timetable is," Fauci told YES Network. "Because if we get the virus under really good control, and certain regions of the country can get gradually from the gateway to the Phase 1 to the Phase 2 to the Phase 3, it is conceivable that you may be able to have some baseball with people practicing physical separation, namely, you don’t pack a stadium.

"I think quite likely, although it’s always dangerous to predict, I think it’s more likely that you’re going to have more of a television baseball than a spectator baseball.” 

From a purely hypothetical standpoint, this is how the league could align divisions under the proposal:

EAST

Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Nationals, Braves, Mets, Marlins

CENTRAL

Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Reds, White Sox, Indians, Twins, Tigers, Royals

WEST

Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres, Giants, Astros, A’s, Mariners, Rangers, Angels

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MLB players, staff participating in US's largest coronavirus antibody study

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USA TODAY

MLB players, staff participating in US's largest coronavirus antibody study

Ten thousand Major League Baseball employees will participate in a study — conducted by Stanford, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) — to test for coronavirus antibodies, according to The Athletic and ESPN.

The study, featuring volunteers from 27 MLB teams, is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and will help determine how widespread the coronavirus is across the nation. It doesn’t look for an active COVID-19 infection, but a specific protein the human body produces in response to it, according to The Athletic’s Molly Knight.

The study has no relation to when the 2020 MLB season will start.

RELATED: Cubs to mobilize Wrigley Field, surrounding neighborhood for COVID-19 relief

Participants include players, their family members, team staff, concessionaires, ushers and other part-time employees. They’re using pinprick test sticks to draw blood, obtaining results within 10 minutes. 

Once completed, participants are instructed to email photos of their test sticks to a team health employee. The employee will interpret the results and forward findings to Jay Bhattacharya, MD, Ph.D, a Stanford professor and lead researcher in the study.

MLB’s participation will allow the study to obtain results in a manner of weeks rather than several years, according to Bhattacharya.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Curtis Granderson's Grand Giving, Mariano's events help feed Chicagoans in need

Curtis Granderson's Grand Giving, Mariano's events help feed Chicagoans in need

Chicago native and MLB veteran Curtis Granderson is giving back this holiday season.

Granderson hosted his Grand Giving Fundraiser in Chicago last week, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

It's the fourth year of the event in Chicago (where Granderson's parents still live) and the first in New York, where Granderson currently plays as a member of the New York Mets.

"The Grand Giving Fundraiser during this November Thanksgiving holiday season, we're trying to tackle the food insecure issues we have going on in Chicago and in New York," Granderson said. "Basically that means that people don't know where their next meal is coming from. In Chicago, it's one in five kids don't know where their next meal is coming from and one in five adults that don't know where their next meal is coming from."

All proceeds from Grand Giving Chicago benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Chicagoans also donated to the cause while shopping at Mariano's, pledging $1, $5, $10 or more at registers during check-out to help feed Chicagoans in need.

For more info on how you can join Granderson in giving back to Chicago click here:http://www.grandgiving.org/chicago