Looking to avoid all the issues from a year ago, Major League Baseball and its Players Association are close to wrapping up a deal that puts health and safety protocols for both players and team personnel at the forefront.
The report from the New York Post points out a few details that will likely be formalized, such as seven-inning doubleheaders as well as keeping modified extra innings, which began during the 60-game shortened 2020 campaign.
The modified extra innings will again see runners starting on second base in an effort to prevent marathon games during the regular season.
One thing that won’t continue is the universal designated hitter like there was last season. The American League will continue to have a DH, but the National League will see pitchers hit during games between NL teams and at NL parks during interleague play.
Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports reports that the union wanted the universal designated hitter, while the league wanted to limit the DH to the American League only.
Last season, the two groups did not decide upon a deal until June 23rd, and there was plenty of back and forth and bickering between the two sides. However, the league eventually did play the 60-game slate and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series.
The league has said numerous times that it wants to start spring training on time later this month and to start the regular season schedule of 162 games on time, beginning on March 26th.
Last week, the MLBPA rejected a proposal from MLB to shorten the 2021 season to 154 games.
MLB had proposed the changes and offered to pay the players for the usual 162 games in exchange for an expanded 2021 postseason.
In response to the union’s rejection, MLB now says the 2021 season will start on time as planned.