If there is a Major League Baseball season in 2020, it appears it won't be ending much later than any other year.
According to Jon Heyman of The MLB Network, owners are "steadfast" in ending a potential season around Nov. 1 to give them the best chance at finishing the post-season and more or less avoiding a possible second wave of COVID-19.
Owners are steadfast in seeking to end the MLB season by around Nov. 1 to give them the best chance to complete the postseason and avoid a 2nd wave. Meanwhile players, citing other sports’ provisional plans, say there’s no reason MLB can’t also play through November.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 4, 2020
Heyman adds that while owners believe finishing by November gives them the best chance to finish the playoffs, players believe -- citing other sports' proposals -- there is no reason MLB can't play through the month of November and have a longer schedule. The NBA's board of governors approved a late-July restart to the league's regular season while the NHL announced last week they were targeting a return to training camp around mid-July.
Multiple reports indicate MLB players most recently proposed a 114-game regular season schedule to the league beginning in early July, but were rejected and told not to counter. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported earlier in the week the MLB is expected to explore the possibility of a 50-to-60 game season.
In addition to season length, one of the major reasons MLB and the Major League Baseball Players' Association have not agreed to a plan to begin the 2020 season is because of a disagreement over player salaries. Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread in North American in mid-March, the league and the union agreed to a framework that indicated players would receive their full salaries relative to how many regular season games were played.
However, the league says the agreement does not account for games played without fans in attendance, leading to an economic stalemate between the two sides. Multiple reports indicate that another reason owners are hesitant to play a longer regular season schedule because it would mean they would have to pay higher aggregate salaries to players.
A previous proposal from the league to the union included an 82-game schedule and a sliding pay scale that would see the highest-paid players take the biggest pay cuts. This proposal was rejected by the MLBPA.
Opening Day was originally schedule for March 26 before play was suspended indefinitely.