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  • MLB Opening Day pushed to mid-May at earliest

    Major League Baseball pushed back Opening Day until mid-May at the earliest on Monday after the federal government recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks because of the coronavirus.

    MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement following a conference call with executives of the 30 teams.

    "The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins," the commissioner's office said in a statement.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed across the country for the next eight weeks.

    "The opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance," Manfred said.

    There is no telling at this point when games will start. The All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, scheduled for July 14, could also be in jeopardy.

    "We're not going to announce an alternate Opening Day at this point. We're going to have to see how things develop," Manfred told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida. He didn't want to speculate about the possibility of playing in empty stadiums, saying that part of that decision would depend on timing.

    MLB called off the rest of the spring training schedule on Thursday and said Opening Day, which was scheduled for March 26, was postponed for at least two weeks. Teams and players agree that two to four weeks of additional spring training will be needed before the regular season begins.

    "I'm just treating this as January of the winter time," Arizona catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text to The Associated Press. "I am working out with the anticipation of baseball activities ramping up over the next month. But my mentality is back to preparing for the season."

    Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday on MLB Network Radio that as the coronavirus crisis deepens, "it's getting more and more challenging" to keep all of the team's players together at spring training camp in Tampa, Florida.

    "Our guys really wanted to stay and work out," Boone said. "Now as the last couple of days have unfolded, that's looking like it's getting more and more challenging. It changes all the time."

    Under an agreement between MLB and the players' association made last week, players were allowed to decide whether to stay at spring training or go home, but some teams have ignored that deal and told players to leave.

    "There should be no organized activities in the camps," Manfred told the Post-Dispatch. "We did agree with the MLBPA that spring training sites would remain open, but the thought there is with a skeleton crew, really to give players some place to use a gym, as opposed to being forced out into a public gym and the like. And we're really encouraging players to make a decision as to where they want to be over an extended period of time and get to that location as soon as possible.": https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/...d-mid-earliest

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

  • #2
    • What MLB players think of daunting coronavirus return possibility





    Doubleheaders and days of consecutive games may not have been specifically addressed in the plan being discussed by MLB, but on Monday, league officials relayed an idea to the Players Association. It entailed games without fans to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, and players potentially being away from their families for months.

    There are still many hurdles to overcome.







    The Post reported Tuesday that federal officials and national organizations have suggested that a baseball return could set the appropriate standard for how other businesses get back on their feet amid the virus.

    For Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino, he just wants to play.





    https://nypost.com/2020/04/07/yankee...s-return-idea/
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    • #3
      Yankees, at $5 billion, top Forbes' list of most valuable MLB teams for 2020; Red Sox, Cubs in top five

      There's no actual baseball right now because of the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic, which means we're occupying ourselves with off-the-field happenings. One notable such event that happens each year is the release of Forbes' MLB franchise valuations, and Thursday occasioned the release of the 2020 version.

      The vast majority of MLB franchises are privately held, which means they're under no obligation to release their financials to the public. When owners do make public comment about the financial state of their teams, it's usually to feign impoverishment for one reason or another. The reality is that teams are almost always highly profitable from year to year, and their owners without fail realize tremendous gains on their original investments when they sell.

      While Forbes isn't working with publicly available data, they've become very good at "reverse engineering" each club's financial picture. If nothing else, the Forbes estimates are far closer to the truth than anything you'll hear from the teams themselves.

      As for the 2020 version, the Yankees remain the most valuable team in all of MLB, with a valuation of $5 billion (among sports franchises, only the Dallas Cowboys boast a higher figure). Here's a look at the five most valuable MLB franchises, per these Forbes estimates: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/y...s-in-top-five/

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      • #4



        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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        • #5
          I wish!

          Arizona gov says state is open to hosting empty-stadium MLB season


          Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Tuesday welcomed the prospect of MLB playing the entirety of the 2020 season before empty stadiums in the state, saying that he had been in contact with league officials about plans for handling the coronavirus pandemic.





          Ducey went on to say that the resumption of national pastimes such as baseball would bring a sense of normality to his state and the country at large.



          The fate of the professional baseball season appears to be down to a competition between the governors of Arizona and Florida, both of whom have expressed interest in MLB playing some or all of its 2020 games in their states should conditions allow players to retake the field. MLB officials have discussed the possibility of holding this year's season in one stadium without fans attending the game, with the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field being listed as a top possibility.

          MLB training facilities are largely split between the two states, and experts have pointed to the density of training facilities in Arizona as a reason why games could be played there.

          https://thehill.com/homenews/state-w...ium-mlb-season

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          • #6
            It is sad to know that the MLB is pushed back. But for the safety of everyone, this set up is much better.

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            • #7


              Other numbers indicate that putting butts in the seats will be a challenge when sports come back.

              Spectator sports pondering a comeback in the coronavirus era got a harsh reality check in a new poll indicating that most fans will stay away.

              In a Seton Hall University survey published Thursday, 72% of Americans said they would not attend games until a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is developed.

              Only 13% said they would feel safe to attend under any circumstances, while 12% would go only if some form of social distancing was practiced.



              Those who thought the NFL should not open its season if social distancing rules are still in effect numbered 70%.

              For sports like baseball that are floating the idea of playing in empty stadiums, the poll revealed that 76% would watch the games on TV with the same enthusiasm as before.





              I would miss sitting in the stands, but because of this virus I would be satisfied on the couch at home.: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/poll-...b6cac1e8127ef5 - http://blogs.shu.edu/sportspoll/2020...ine-developed/

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              • #8
                Fans sue Major League Baseball over 'unusable tickets for unplayable games'


                Two baseball fans have filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, and the 30 teams involved in the league, requesting a refund for "unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis," the case description said.

                The lawsuit was filed Monday in Los Angeles by Matthew Ajzenman after he bought a partial season plan for more than 20 Mets games, according to CNBC.



                Ajzenman said the Mets partial-season plan he purchased amounted to $1,730, adding that he made the first payment to the team of about $317 last year.

                Alongside him is Susan Terry-Bazer, who reportedly paid $926 to take her family to a Red Sox-Yankees game in May.

                "The defendants continue to retain enormous profits from tickets sold for the 2020 MLB season at the expense of fans' financial hardship," the suit said, adding that Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Live Nation and Last Minute Transactions are on the list of defendants.

                Both fans are requesting full restitution on MLB tickets sold in 2020, as well as a declaratory judgment stating that the MLB's decision to continue selling regular season tickets violates California law.

                The MLB organization previously said it is awaiting government and medical direction on when to proceed the 2020 season following its response to postpone games until mid-May on March 26.

                The league and the players' union have considered the possibility of holding games in empty stadiums, although no official decision has been made.: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/49...le-tickets-for
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                • #9
                  How many little hearts were crushed?

                  Little League Cancels 2020 World Series and Region Tournaments





                  As we assessed the feasibility of including these tournament opportunities as part of that resumption of play, a number of factors went into the decision to cancel the World Series and Regional Tournaments, including:

                  *The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of our U.S. and International regions, coupled with direction from federal officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.

                  *An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.

                  *The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.

                  The cancellation includes the 82 regional qualifying tournaments and their respective seven World Series events:









                  As 2021 was originally supposed to be the playing of the 75th Little League Baseball World Series, that celebration will now take place in 2022. More information about World Series locations and future dates can be found at LittleLeague.org.

                  As a result of this decision, the 2020 MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO, originally scheduled for August 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, has also been canceled. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have already committed to returning to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic next August.





                  As each state and community will have different guidance for resuming organized youth sports, Little League International strongly encourages volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to do so before resuming Little League activity after May 11. These playing opportunities could include not only regular season activities, but opportunities for local district, and, perhaps, state all-star tournament play to provide players, especially those moving up to a new age division in 2021, a tournament experience, if possible and safe.

                  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

                  Little League International and Regional staff will continue to be a resource for our District and league volunteers, and are encouraged to contact [email protected]

                  https://www.littleleague.org/news/li...n-tournaments/
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                  • #10
                    Related (baseball)

                    No fans present but Korean baseball's start is still a hit




                    But instead of throwing the ball, the boy, inside a giant clear balloon, walked towards the catcher in what was called a "socially distant first pitch" for South Korean club KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO) League yesterday.

                    The ceremony marked the start of the top flight of South Korea's professional baseball league season after a five-week delay since March 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has all but wiped the global sporting calendar clean.

                    No fans were allowed to attend any of the five games, and referees, coaches and cheerleaders all wore face masks. Cardboard cut-outs, and banners were used to replicate the presence of spectators.


                    To minimise physical contact - as advised by the league - players celebrated runs with forearm bumps, rather than high-fives and handshakes, with spitting prohibited.

                    All involved will be subjected to regular temperature testing.

                    Major TV networks, starved of live sports content, have snapped up the chance to air KBO games, with ESPN among 10 foreign broadcasters penning deals.

                    To mitigate the lack of an atmosphere in the stadium, Wiz and SK Wyverns also aired videos of cheering fans on stadium scoreboards, while LG Twins live-streamed cheerleading on its YouTube channel and invited fans to participate in its social media events.

                    Players and fans alike have welcomed the return of baseball, South Korea's most popular sport.

                    Mookie Betts, an outfielder for Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers, shared on social media a video celebrating the KBO's opening and introduced some players.

                    "We've been stuck at home long enough but I'm so excited to see the game," said Kim Su-hong, a firefighter and SK Wyverns fan, who watched the match against Hanwha Eagles in his Incheon home.

                    "If not for the coronavirus, I would've been in the stadium with my wife and daughter. But for now, we're going to make a bet for beer after the game."

                    There is even an upside to the increased attention.

                    Reflecting on the rise in online viewership, Lee In-song, a Wyverns official, said: "This no-audience period hopefully won't last long, but looking on the bright side, there could be more new baseball fans, from abroad, watching the games from home like never before, thanks to the technology."

                    Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have enabled South Korea to limit the impact of Covid-19 compared to the months-long lockdowns seen elsewhere. As such, the country is becoming a rare hotspot for live sport.

                    Friday will see the delayed start of its K-League football competition, and on May 14, some of golf's leading women players, including world No. 6 Kim Sei-young and 10th-ranked Lee Jeong-eun, will tee off in the KLPGA Championship, a marked change with fans elsewhere having to make do with repeats of past events on TV.: https://www.straitstimes.com/sport/n...is-still-a-hit - http://english.chosun.com/site/data/...050600522.html
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                    • #11
                      • MLB 2020 season plan: Owners approve proposal for July start; talks reportedly begin without salary discussion

                      The league's proposal includes an 82-game season, expanded playoffs, a 50/50 revenue split and more

                      Major League Baseball and the players union began negotiations about restarting the 2020 season on Tuesday. The two sides started talks after commissioner Rob Manfred held a Monday conference call with the league's 30 owners, who approved a restart proposal that would see the 2020 regular season being in early July.

                      Here are the major items included in MLB's proposal, sources familiar with Monday's conference call have told CBS Sports:

                      82-game regional schedule and universal DH
                      30-man active rosters with a 20-player taxi squad
                      14 teams in the postseason with games played in home cities in October
                      50/50 revenue split for players and owners

                      The first virtual meeting between the league and the players association reportedly took place for several hours on Tuesday, and no deal was reached. The discussion is expected to continue Wednesday and perhaps beyond that. Per multiple reports, including from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the league did not formally present its revenue split proposal with the union on Tuesday.

                      82-game regional schedule and universal DH
                      In an effort to limit travel and essentially isolate teams geographically, clubs could play 82-game regional schedules. The two East divisions would play each other, the two Central divisions would play each other, and the two West divisions would play each other. The two-league, six-division format would remain, though the increase in interleague games necessitate a universal DH. The universal DH would also protect pitchers. MLB and the MLBPA are worried about increased injury risk following the shutdown.

                      Should the regular season begin in early July, the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium would be postponed, according to Nightengale. It's unclear whether it would be rescheduled for another time or canceled entirely. The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 14 and the four-day All-Star break would presumably be used to make up regular season games instead.

                      30-man active rosters with a 20-player taxi squad
                      For all intents and purposes, MLB is proposing clubs have 50-man rosters in 2020 to help deal with the condensed schedule and limit injury risk. There will be 30 active players for each game with another 20 on what amounts to a taxi squad. It is extremely unlikely there will be a minor-league season in 2020 and a 20-man taxi squad is the best way to keep players ready and available as injury replacements and call-up options. Other minor leaguers could take part in what amounts to an extended spring training at each team's complex, though nothing is finalized on that front yet.

                      Expanded postseason
                      In an effort to recoup revenue and make things a little more fair following a shortened regular season, MLB will propose an expanded postseason field. Specifically, they are expected to propose the seven-teams-per-league format that was leaked over the winter. Here's a refresher on how that would work:

                      Teams with the best record in each league get a wild card round bye.
                      Two other division winners and top wild card team host all games of three-game series in wild card round.
                      Two other division winners get to pick their wild card round opponents. The other two wild cad teams are paired up.

                      Players are not paid salaries during the postseason, but they do receive bonuses through postseason shares, and the MLBPA would presumably be on board with an expanded format. Maybe not this format, specifically, but a format that puts more teams in the tournament, generates more revenue, and leads to more postseason shares.

                      It should be noted plans to play additional regular season games in October and push the postseason back into November have been shelved for the time being. MLB doesn't want to have to shut down the sport in the middle of the postseason if here's another COVID-19 wave in the fall. Their goal is to play as many regular season games and a complete postseason as quickly as possible.

                      Revenue-sharing plan
                      Despite agreeing to prorated salaries in March, MLB and the owners will seek additional pay reductions from the MLBPA to account for the revenue lost by not having fans in the stands. MLB will propose a 50/50 revenue split in 2020. How that money is distributed among the players is presumably up to the MLBPA to figure out.

                      Revenue sharing arrangements are common in other sports -- NFL players get 48 percent, NHL players get 50 percent, and NBA players get 49 to 51 percent depending on expected revenue -- but it would be unprecedented in MLB. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark has said the union is done negotiating salary terms after agreeing to prorated salaries. The salary reduction issue figures to be the most significant hurdle that has to be cleared.: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/m...ry-discussion/
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                      • #12
                        Oakland A's miss rent payment, citing COVID-19

                        The Oakland Athletics have not paid the $1.2 million annual rent that was due April 1 for their use of the Oakland Coliseum, and the Major League Baseball team has cited COVID-19 as the primary reason.

                        Henry Gardner, the interim head of the Coliseum Authority, said Thursday the A's told him they had "no ability to pay" the annual rent that was due last month, the Mercury News reported.

                        "They said because they haven't used it, they were not able to generate revenue, and they have no ability to pay," said Gardner.

                        MLB's season was set to begin earlier this spring but has been indefinitely postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. Teams will have lost more than two months of games by the end of May, and while there is talk about a season beginning in July, MLB teams and the players union have yet to finalize a deal.

                        The suspensions have hit the bottom lines of a number of pro sports leagues, which are not only missing out on paid attendance but on television rights to games.

                        Even if there is a baseball season this year, it will be abbreviated and likely will be held with no fans attending games.

                        Gardner said he recognized the impact the virus outbreak has had on everyone but added that the rent could not be voided.

                        "Maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can't just say no rent," he told the Mercury News.

                        A spokesperson for the A's told The Hill the Coliseum has been kept available for Oakland and Alameda County as a "potential surge location" for the coronavirus outbreak.

                        "Due to this important health measure, the local shelter-in-place directive, and the state and local bans on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people at City facilities — including the Coliseum — the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) has been unable to make the Coliseum available for use by the A's," the spokesperson added.

                        The spokesperson said it notified the JPA in March that the annual rent would be deferred since the building was not available for use, citing the organization's contract.

                        Ignacio De La Fuente, a board member for the Coliseum Authority, said the A's were taking advantage of the pandemic to avoid rent, adding, "I'm going to make sure we do whatever we can to make them pay," the Mercury News reported.: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-w...iting-covid-19

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                        • #13
                          • Yankees, Mets get green light to hold spring training in home stadiums from New York governor

                          Meantime, MLB is busy laying the foundation for a 2020 season

                          On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted that professional sports teams of his state are now free to "begin spring training." The use of the baseball term "spring training" of course strongly suggests that he's referring primarily to the Yankees and Mets, who, like the rest of Major League Baseball, have been shut down by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

                          MLB is negotiating with the Players' Association on the structure of a 2020 season, which all sides hope to get under way in early July. Satisfying that timetable will require a restart of spring (or summer) training with enough time -- likely two to three weeks -- for players to ramp back up to game shape.

                          One idea reportedly being discussed is for MLB teams to hold the resumption of spring training in their home ballparks, and Cuomo's announcement would seem to clear that path for the Yankees and Mets. As for the Yankees, they may instead be leaning toward holding the remainder of spring training at their usual Grapefruit League complex in Tampa. Baseball writer Bob Klapisch recently tweeted that the Yankees were planning to hold spring training 2.0 in Florida..

                          New York has been the state hardest hit by the pandemic, but a recent decline in new cases has prompted Cuomo to ease some of the shutdown restrictions in place. That of course is good news on a number of more important levels, and it's also a positive sign when it comes to the possibility that a 2020 MLB season, featuring something like an 82-game regular season and expanded playoffs, will be held.

                          Players and owners must still come to terms on a number of issues -- the matter of player salaries for 2020 most pressing among them -- but conditions continue to augur a return for baseball and other major professional sports leagues in the U.S.: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/y...york-governor/ - https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo/statu...89730009808898
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                          • #14
                            So, the 2020 season would start around July 4th?? Can't wait!!

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                            • #15
                              MLB rejects 114-game schedule, threatens plan of about 50



                              If Major League Baseball and its players take the field for a coronanvirus-delayed 2020 season, it will be after acrimonious negotiations that resemble their labor war of a generation ago.

                              MLB rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts, and will turn its attention to a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. Owners last week proposed an 82-game schedule starting in early July.

                              “We do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by The Associated Press.

                              MLB’s plan included a sliding scale of pay decreases that would leave players at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of their original salaries and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

                              Players insisted they receive the prorated salaries agreed to in a March 26 deal, which would give them 70% pay at 114 games. That agreement called for the sides to “discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators.” The union has said no additional cuts are acceptable.

                              There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team since 1879.

                              “Despite what it sounds like with some of the Twitter bickering back and forth and some of the posturing back and forth, I am optimistic that we are going to play baseball this year,” Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “I’m optimistic that both sides genuinely want to play baseball this year, that there’s a path to doing so, even if it’s a shorter season, even if it’s 50 games.”

                              Ballparks without fans appear certain due to the pandemic. MLB claims large losses due to the virus, which the union disputes, and teams want additional salary reductions. Halem said 27 of the 30 teams would lose money with each additional game.

                              A 50-game schedule would result in players receiving about 30% of their full salaries under the March 26 deal.

                              “You confirmed for us on Sunday that players are unified in their view that they will not accept less than 100% of their prorated salaries, and we have no choice but to accept that representation,” Halem wrote.

                              “Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem added. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

                              Halem ended his letter by telling Meyer “we stand ready to discuss any ideas you may have that might lead to an agreement on resuming play without regular fan access in our stadiums.”

                              MLB wants to start the season in early July, and Halem wrote an agreement would have had to be reached by June 1 in order to reopen training camps by June 10. That would leave three to four weeks of preparation, which Halem said is the “wide consensus.”

                              “We are opposed to rushing to begin the season and then subjecting players to a grueling schedule,” he said.

                              Players made their proposal Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan. Opening day would be June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule.

                              MLB does not want to play past October because it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the postseason and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue. Halem cited MLB’s infectious disease consultant, Dr. Ali Khan, Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska.

                              “It is not in the collective interest of clubs or players to begin a 2020 season and subsequently be forced to suspend or cancel it before the completion of the postseason,” Halem wrote.

                              “Dr. Khan and his team have advised us that to minimize the risk of a subsequent delay or cancellation of the 2020 season we should endeavor to complete the season and postseason as early in the fall as possible,” he wrote. “In addition, your proposal ignores the realities of the weather in many parts of the country during the second half of October. If we schedule a full slate of games in late October, we will be plagued by cancellations.”

                              As part of the March 26 deal, players got $170 million in salary advances — ranging from $16,500 to $286,500 — and a guarantee that if the season is scrapped each player would get 2020 service time matching what the player accrued in 2019.

                              MLB’s proposal on May 26 would lower 2020 salaries from about $4 billion to approximately $1.2 billion, not including signing bonuses, termination pay or option buyouts. There would be a $200 million bonus if the postseason is completed.

                              The union’s offer would have salaries total about $2.8 billion, leaving each player with about 70% of his original salary.

                              Halem said coronavirus testing would cost the teams $40 million to $50 million. He claimed “clubs would fare even worse economically if we were to play a significant number of doubleheaders, as your counter-proposal contemplates.”

                              Players proposed that $100 million in salaries be deferred to 2021 and 2022 if the postseason is canceled.

                              “Deferring salaries, with interest, is the economic equivalent of assuming more debt,” Halem said. “Clubs already have assumed $2 billion in additional debt that must be serviced and do not have the financial capacity to push more 2020 financial obligations into future years without impacting their financial stability.”

                              Both sides have proposed expanding the playoffs from 10 teams to 14, and the union has offered to guarantee the expansion through 2021. Both sides also are willing to widen use of the designated hitter to all games this year.

                              The union proposed high-risk players, or players who live with a high-risk individual, be able to opt out of playing, and MLB has said it is willing to discuss the topic. MLB, however, says other players who opt out would get neither salary nor service time, which is key to eligibility for free agency and arbitration. The union proposed that group not get paid but receive service time.: https://apnews.com/4d50060f444a6e5b18d8f9be5612b220



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