Baseball is back.  For real.  Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association both have declared: baseball is back. In just over a week's time, Major League Baseball teams will have reported to their home cities to train for a 2020 season.  It will look unlike other seasons, but at least it is back.

There is much to break down about the upcoming 2020 season, so here are some of the terms as reported by major media outlets, particular Jeff Passan of ESPN and Jayson Stark of the Athletic

  • The season will be 60 games
  • Transactions may resume on Friday (Paging: J.T. Realmuto)
  • Teams will assemble 60-player "pools" that include the 40-man roster and 20 other players.  They may (but do not have to) be part of the "Spring Training" (It's now Summer!)
  • Season will start with 30-man rosters, which will become 28-man rosters after two weeks, and assume the standard 26-man roster after four weeks
  • Trade deadline will be August 31
  • Roster deadline for playoff rosters will be September 15
  • There will be a special COVID-19 injured list for those who have either tested positive or are showing symptoms, free from mandatory lengths

There will be some other modifications, however.

First, the designated hitter will be in both leagues in 2020.  There is no commitment for 2021, but this could be the end of the designated hitter.  The move is designed to protect the health of pitchers.

Second, teams will play 40 games in-division and 20 games interleague with the geographic counterpart, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Provided the schedule is balanced, that means the Phillies will play each of the Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, and Atlanta Braves 10 times each.  Meanwhile, that leaves 4 games each for the Toronto Blue Jays (who may be in Dunedin), Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox.

Heyman reports that Opening Day will be either July 23 or July 24.

This move was experimented with at the last World Baseball Classic.  This change is likely to draw the ire of fans.  But the rationale is that in a shortened season with much at stake, games lasting too long

There will be an empty Citizens Bank Park for games as far as fans go, of course.  But there will be baseball played.

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