The 2020 Major League Baseball season has yet to begin due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it has left sportsbooks with little baseball to offer. That could all change next month as Major League Baseball is eyeing a return.
Sources have indicated that Major League Baseball owners have approved a plan to begin the 2020 season, and that plan will now be presented to the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Commissioner Rob Manfred has been working hard to develop a solid plan, and it appears he has finally made a decision.
Games would not begin until the beginning of July, with opening day slated for Fourth of July weekend. Spring training would resume in the middle of June, giving players a chance to get their bodies back in shape.
Under this proposal, each team would play around 82 games, and most of those games would come against teams from their own division. Major League Baseball had talked about realigning divisions, but it is unclear if that is still a part of this plan.
Another major change is that the designated hitter is expected to come to the National League for the 2020 season. Postseason play is expected to be expanded to 14 teams as opposed to the traditional 10-team format.
Under this proposal, most teams would play all of their home games at their home stadium as long as state and local medical officials approve. If teams are not able to play in their city, then they would be forced to relocate to their Spring Training home.
The Major League Baseball Players Association has already been meeting about this plan over the last week, but they will now have an official proposal in front of them. Revenue sharing is expected to be a major part of this debate as players want to get paid for the risk that they are being asked to take.
Sportsbooks all across the United States are eager for baseball to return as well as the other major professional sports. Both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are still trying to figure out a way to finish their regular seasons and playoffs.
Japan Baseball League Hoping to Begin in June
The Japanese Baseball League was also forced to shut down their season before it even began. The Japanese Baseball League was expected to resume play before Major League Baseball, and it appears that it will happen that way.
The head of Japanese baseball has announced that the league is expected to begin in June, although an official date was not announced. There are just 12-teams in the Japan Baseball League, but it is one of the most popular leagues in the world.
Japan is currently under a state of emergency, but it is expected to be lifted on May 31. When the emergency is lifted, baseball is expected to be one of the first major organizations to get up and running.
Baseball in Japan was set to begin on March 20, but the season was postponed before it even got off and running. The All-Star Game that was scheduled to take place in July has been canceled for the first time in 70 years.
Commissioner Atsushi Saito has been working with health officials to set a return date, but it’s still up in the air due to the state of emergency. Sportsbooks in the United States will likely offer bets on Japanese baseball when it does return.
Leagues in Korea and Taiwan have resumed play, but all of the games are taking place without fans. ESPN has entered into an agreement with the KBO to broadcast one live game per day.