MLB proposes midsummer first pitch
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/12/20, 10:48 am
Major League Baseball has a plan for players, but not fans, to return to ballparks in early July. The strategy calls for an 82-game season with teams playing their divisional rivals and other nearby teams to minimize travel during the coronavirus pandemic. The change will mean more interleague play, so MLB executives want the National League to adopt the American League’s rule of having a designated hitter bat for the pitcher. That’s a big adjustment for NL players and managers, as well as for fans who have fiercely debated the pros and cons of a designated hitter for decades.
How will players and staff stay safe? Teams would initially play without fans in the seats, and MLB would test team employees for COVID-19 as often as possible. Whether baseball can secure the number of tests it needs remains unclear. The players’ union also has to approve the idea. In a recent study, just 0.7 percent of MLB employees, which included players and some family members, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
Dig deeper: Read Sharon Dierberger’s report in Muse about the varying post-pandemic plans of professional sports leagues.
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