NEW YORK (Reuters) – Major League Baseball (MLB) and its players’ association agreed to a shortened 60-game 2020 season on Tuesday, ending weeks of heated talks between team owners and their players.
Players will report for spring training by July 1 with the season set to begin on July 23 or July 24, MLB said.
MLB postponed its 162-game regular season in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and had struggled to broker an accord between the two sides.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “(We) are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”
The MLBPA said that “all remaining issues have been resolved.”
The proposed schedule is designed to “mitigate travel,” the league said, with the majority of games involving divisional play.
The news quickly began to trend across Twitter, with elated baseball fans and players celebrating.
“Philly. We’re finally coming home!” tweeted Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper.
“Baseball is back!” wrote three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter. “I could cry.”
MLB also said it was “working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers” on best practices for a safe return, as new COVID-19 cases surged across several states.
The Phillies shut down its Clearwater, Florida, training site last week after five players and three staff members tested positive, while the Toronto Blue Jays shut down its Dunedin, Florida, training center after a player showed symptoms.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)