Union rejects MLB proposal to delay 2021 season, play 154 games

Union rejects MLB proposal to delay 2021 season, play 154 games

"The clear-cut result of these deliberations is that players will not accept MLB's proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB's commitment to again direct its clubs to prepare for an on-time start".

Under the proposal, Opening Day would be pushed back from April 1 to April 28 and Spring Training, now set to begin in mid-February, would start on March 22.

While the plan says players would receive 100% of pay if all 154 scheduled games are played, Manfred would have an expanded right to stop spring training, the regular season or the postseason under certain conditions.

The owners' proposal included an expanded playoff field of 14 teams and a universal DH.

"We do not make this decision lightly", MLBPA said in a statement.

One key line in the Major League Baseball statement that perhaps still could lead to a delay in spring training was the part where it stated the start was "subject to reaching an agreement on health and safety protocols".

The union has asserted that the fact there was a 60-game season played to completion in 2020 during a pandemic displayed an entire 162-game season can be played in 2021.

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"On the advice of medical experts, we proposed a one-month delay to the start of spring training and the regular season to better protect the health and safety of players and support staff". By waiting an extra month, the hope is that more people will be vaccinated and would allow for more fans to attend games.

No fans were allowed during the regular season a year ago, which because of the pandemic started July 23 rather than March 26.

"The union rejected MLB" s offer partly out of mistrust.

The regular season would be compressed to 154 games in 166 days from 162 games over 186 days, which means fewer off days and the need for multiple doubleheaders, which would be two seven-inning games. "We will do so again, together, as we work towards playing another safe and entertaining season in 2021".

The regular season would end October 10, one week later originally planned, and be followed by a postseason that would stretch into November. Further, it would delay the minor league season approximately one month. A delay of the season would allow the level of COVID-19 infection rates to decrease and additional time for the distribution of vaccinations, as well as minimizing potential disruptions to the 2021 season that now face all sports. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred would have authority to suspend the season due to health reasons, according to reports.

In a statement, the MLBPA cited concerns with playing doubleheaders, accepting expanded playoffs and the expansion of the designated hitter and the lack of salary or service time protections should the season be delayed or cancelled. The current agreement expires in December.

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