2020 Major League Baseball season

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Template:Infobox sports season

The 2020 Major League Baseball season was scheduled to begin on March 26. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in North America caused Major League Baseball (MLB) to announce on March 12 that the remainder of spring training games were canceled and that the start of the regular season would be delayed by at least two weeks.[1] Four days later, MLB announced that the season would be postponed indefinitely, following recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for an eight-week period.[2] This is the first time MLB games have been put on hold since the 2001 season, when the season was paused for over a week after the September 11 attacks.

Prior to the March 12 announcement, the regular season was scheduled to end on September 27, with the postseason scheduled to begin on September 29. The Template:Season link was set to begin on October 20, with a potential Game 7 set to be played on October 28. The 91st Major League Baseball All-Star Game is scheduled to be held on July 14 at Dodger Stadium. The entire schedule had been released on August 12, 2019.[3] MLB has considered a number of scenarios as to how to play the season, and has vowed to hold "as many baseball games in 2020 as [they] can."[4]

Schedule[edit source | edit]

As has been the case since 2013, the American League and National League each comprise 15 teams divided into three five-team divisions. Teams were scheduled to play 19 games against each of their four division opponents (76 games), plus six or seven games against the remaining ten teams within the same league (66 games). Thus, each team would have played 142 games against teams in their own league; the remaining 20 games of the 162-game schedule would be inter-league contests. The primary inter-league match-ups are to be AL East vs NL Central, AL Central vs NL West, and AL West vs NL East.

March 26 would have been the earliest Opening Day in Major League history. The 2019 season previously featured the earliest Opening Day (March 28), excluding occasional international opening series.[5] The delay of the opening of the season negates that possibility.

On March 19, the Mexico Series and Puerto Rico Series games were canceled; the former would have featured the San Diego Padres playing the Arizona Diamondbacks at Mexico City's Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú, and the latter featuring the New York Mets playing the Miami Marlins at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. On March 26, MLB also canceled the London Series games, which would have featured the Chicago Cubs playing the St. Louis Cardinals at London Stadium.[6]

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox are scheduled to play on August 13 in the inaugural MLB at Field of Dreams game. A temporary 8,000-seat ballpark is planned for construction on the Dyersville farm site of the 1989 sports film Field of Dreams. This would be the first major league game played in Iowa.[7] The 1875 Keokuk Westerns of Keokuk, Iowa, competed in the National Association, the first professional baseball league, whose status as a major league is in dispute and is not recognized by Major League Baseball or the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The MLB Little League Classic at BB&T Ballpark in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, coinciding with the Little League World Series, was to return to the schedule for the fourth straight year. It was scheduled to be played on August 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.[8] The event was canceled on April 30 with the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series.[9]

Possible new schedules[edit source | edit]

The indefinite delay of the season has caused MLB to internally consider a number of scenarios for playing the season, as well as analysts suggesting ways it could be done. A shortened regular season, a season with many doubleheaders, and a postseason extending into November with a World Series at an indoor or warm-weather neutral site have all been suggested.[10][11]

In early April, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that MLB was "increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials".[12] The plan would involve all 30 teams playing games with no fans in stadiums around the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Chase Field and spring training complexes, and players would live in isolation at local hotels.

Another report from USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale details another MLB proposal utilizing the Phoenix metro sites, but with the additional use of spring training sites in Florida, in addition to Marlins Park in Miami and St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field. In addition, the thirty teams would be re-aligned for the season depending on their spring training sites into six divisions based upon their locations in the Phoenix metro and Florida and agnostic to the usual AL/NL demarcations and traditional geographic rivalries (a proposal that would make the Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area teams division rivals, while also placing the Astros and Nationals, the two 2019 World Series teams, in the same division), effectively making the spring training Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues regular-season leagues.[13] No interleague play would take place and the designated hitter rule would be utilized for all thirty teams (no details about the All-Star Game are listed in the report), with the World Series occurring in November utilizing the larger MLB sites.[14] Because each league would have an odd number of teams (15), when all teams are scheduled to play on a given day, one team in each league would play a day-night doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games. Under this proposal, the divisions would be:

  • Cactus League:
    • Northeast: Athletics, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies
    • West: Angels, Dodgers, Indians, Reds, White Sox
    • Northwest: Brewers, Mariners, Rangers, Royals, Padres
  • Grapefruit League
    • North: Blue Jays, Phillies, Pirates, Tigers, Yankees
    • South: Braves, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Twins
    • East: Astros, Cardinals, Marlins, Mets, Nationals

March agreement between MLB and MLBPA[edit source | edit]

In late March, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) reached agreement on multiple considerations related to the start of the season being delayed, including:[15]

  • The 2020 MLB draft will be held by July 20, and reduced from 40 rounds to five rounds.
  • Player salaries will be pro-rated, based on the length of the regular season.
  • Players will receive full service time for the season, regardless of the length of the season, even if canceled.
  • Roster moves were frozen as of March 27, until the season begins.

Managerial changes[edit source | edit]

General managers[edit source | edit]

Offseason[edit source | edit]

Team Former GM Reason For Leaving New GM Notes
Boston Red Sox Dave Dombrowski Fired Brian O'Halloran Dombrowski, whose title was President of Baseball Operations, was unexpectedly fired on September 9, 2019, less than one year after the Red Sox won the World Series.[16]
On October 25, 2019, the Red Sox hired the 36-year-old Chaim Bloom as Chief Baseball Officer, succeeding Dombrowski as head of their baseball operations, with Brian O'Halloran named general manager and reporting to Bloom.[17]
Pittsburgh Pirates Neal Huntington Ben Cherington Huntington was fired on October 28, 2019. Huntington had been the longest-tenured general manager in the National League, as he was hired in September 2007. The Pirates made the playoffs three times during Huntington's tenure after the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.[18] Ben Cherington was hired as the new general manager of the Pirates on November 18, 2019.[19]
Houston Astros Jeff Luhnow James Click On January 13, Luhnow was suspended for the 2020 season after the Houston Astros were involved an investigation over the use of technology to steal signs during their 2017 championship season. He was then fired by the Astros organization.[20] James Click was named the new GM on February 3. He has spent the past 14 years in the Tampa Bay Rays front office.[21]

Field managers[edit source | edit]

Offseason[edit source | edit]

Team Former Manager Interim Manager Reason For Leaving New Manager Notes
San Diego Padres Andy Green Rod Barajas Fired Jayce Tingler On September 21, 2019, Green was fired after four seasons with a record of 274–366 (.428) with no playoff appearances. Bench coach Rod Barajas was named the interim manager of the Padres for the rest of the season.[22]

Tingler was named the new manager on October 28, 2019. Tingler previously spent the last five years in the Texas Rangers organization as a coach and a front office executive.[23]

Kansas City Royals Ned Yost N/A Retired Mike Matheny On September 23, 2019, Yost announced that he would retire at the end of the 2019 season. He led the Royals to consecutive World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015, winning the championship in 2015. He had been the manager since May 2010. Yost finished his career in Kansas City with a 746–839 (.471) record.[24]

On October 31, 2019, Mike Matheny, who spent last season as the special advisor to Royals general manager Dayton Moore, was named the new manager of the Kansas City Royals. Matheny managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 through mid-July 2018. He had a career record of 591–474 (.555). He led the Cardinals to the postseason in his first four seasons as manager and won the National League pennant in 2013.[25][26]

San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy Gabe Kapler On February 18, 2019, Bochy announced he would retire following the conclusion of the 2019 season after 13 seasons. He led the Giants to three World Series championships in four playoff appearances. Bochy finished with a career record of 1052–1054 (.500).[27]

On November 12, 2019, Gabe Kapler, who managed the Philadelphia Phillies for the past two seasons, was announced as the new manager.[28]

Chicago Cubs Joe Maddon Contract not renewed David Ross On September 29, 2019, the Cubs announced that they would not offer Maddon a contract extension following this season. He led the Cubs to four playoff appearances in five years, including the 2016 World Series championship, the Cubs' first since 1908. Maddon finished his tenure with the Cubs with a record of 471–339 (.581).[29]

Ross, who spent the 2015 and 2016 season with the team as a player, was named the new manager on October 24, 2019. Ross spent the last three seasons as the special assistant to baseball operations for the team as well as a baseball analyst for ESPN.[30]

Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdle Fired Derek Shelton On September 29, 2019, the Pirates announced that they dismissed Hurdle after nine seasons with a record of 735–720 (.505) with three playoff appearances.[31]

On November 27, 2019, Shelton, who spent the previous two seasons as the bench coach for the Minnesota Twins, was named the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.[32] He also spent time as a hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2005 to 2009 and a hitting coach for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010 to 2016 while also serving as a quality control coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017.[33]

Los Angeles Angels Brad Ausmus Joe Maddon On September 30, 2019, Ausmus was fired after one season with a record of 72–90 (.444). Ausmus served as a special assistant to the Angels general manager Billy Eppler in the 2018 season.[34]

Maddon was hired by the Angels on October 16, 2019.[35] Maddon had spent 31 years in the Angels organization (12 years as a coach) before managing the Tampa Bay Rays for nine years and the Chicago Cubs for five years.

New York Mets Mickey Callaway Carlos Beltrán On October 3, 2019, Callaway was fired after two seasons with a record of 163–161 (.503) with no playoff appearances.[36]

On November 1, 2019, Carlos Beltrán, who played for the team from 2005 to the middle of the 2011 season, was named the new manager of the team. Beltrán was a special adviser to the New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman last season.[37]

Carlos Beltrán Mutual Decision Luis Rojas On January 16, Beltran and the Mets agreed to part ways before managing a game for the Mets, in light of his reported involvement in the Astros using cameras to steal signs.[38]

The Mets hired Rojas on January 22. He has spent the last 13 years in the Mets organization.[39]

Philadelphia Phillies Gabe Kapler Fired Joe Girardi On October 10, 2019, Kapler was fired after two seasons with a record of 161–163 (.497) with no playoff appearances.[40]

Girardi, who served as an baseball analyst for the MLB Network the last two seasons, was hired as new manager on October 24, 2019. Girardi previously managed the Florida Marlins for the 2006 season and the New York Yankees from 2008 to 2017.[41]

Houston Astros A. J. Hinch Dusty Baker On January 13, Hinch was suspended by MLB for the 2020 season as part of an investigation against the Astros using hidden cameras to steal signs during their 2017 championship season; he was fired by the Astros shortly after the suspension was announced. Hinch had a regular season record of 481–329 (.594) with a total of four postseason appearances compiling a record of 28–22 (.560), two World Series appearances, and a World Series championship in 2017, throughout his tenure as Astros manager.[20]

On January 29, the Astros hired Dusty Baker to replaced Hinch. He managed the San Francisco Giants from 1993 to 2002, the Chicago Cubs from 2003 to 2006, the Cincinnati Reds from 2008 to 2013, and the Washington Nationals during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. His overall managerial record is 1863–1636 (.532) in the regular season, and 23–32 (.418) in the playoffs, losing the 2002 World Series.

Boston Red Sox Alex Cora Ron Roenicke Mutual Decision Ron Roenicke On January 14, the Red Sox and Cora officially agreed to part ways with each other after two seasons. Cora had been under investigation by MLB over the Houston Astros' use of hidden cameras to steal signs during that team's 2017 championship season (while Cora was the bench coach) as well as under investigation of allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign stealing in 2018 (while Cora was the manager). In his two seasons as Red Sox manager, he compiled a record of 192–132 (.593), winning the 2018 World Series.[42]

Roenicke was promoted from bench coach to interim manager on February 11. A longtime coach, his only managerial experience was with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011 to 2015, compiling a record of 342–331 (.508), with one playoff appearance and a 5–6 (.455) record in the postseason.[43] On April 22, the "interim" tag was removed from Roenicke's title, following MLB's findings about the 2018 Red Sox, which focused on the team's video replay operator.[44]

Rule changes[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Major League Baseball rosters#Changes effective 2020

The following changes, effective for the 2020 season,[45][46][47] were officially announced by MLB on February 12:[48]

  • The size of the active roster expands from 25 players to 26 players, through August 31.
    • During this time, and during the postseason, clubs can carry a maximum of 13 pitchers.
    • Any team that is playing a scheduled day-night doubleheader, or a scheduled neutral-site game (such as the MLB Little League Classic), may carry a 27th player for that day only. This player can either be a position player or pitcher.
  • The size of the expanded roster in September is reduced from 40 players to 28 players.
    • During this time, clubs can carry a maximum of 14 pitchers.
  • Pitchers and two-way players optioned to the minor leagues must remain there for at least 15 days before being eligible for recall to the major league club, rather than the previous 10-day minimum. The minimum option period for position players remains 10 days.
  • Teams must designate players as either "position players" or "pitchers" before the start of the season.
    • Only players designated as pitchers will be allowed to pitch in any regular-season or postseason game, with limited exceptions (such as one team leading by at least seven runs, or the game going into extra innings).
    • Once a player has pitched at least 20 innings and made at least three plate appearances as a position player or designated hitter in each of 20 games, he earns the status of "two-way player" for the remainder of the season plus all of the next season. Players with this status may pitch at any time during a game. For this season only, any player who met the above requirements in either the 2018 or 2019 season qualifies for two-way status.
    • Players designated as pitchers, if placed on the injured list, must spend a minimum of 15 days on the IL prior to being eligible for activation. Position players may be activated after a minimum of 10 days on the IL. Two-way players are subject to the rules for pitchers. The 7-day minimum on the IL for concussions remains unchanged.
  • A pitcher must face at least three batters, unless the inning ends or the pitcher is injured.
  • Managers now have up to 20 seconds to challenge a play (reduced from 30 seconds).

Uniforms[edit source | edit]

On January 25, 2019, it was announced that Nike Inc. would become the new exclusive uniform supplier for all MLB teams, under a 10-year deal beginning in the 2020 season. Under Armour backed out of its existing supply agreement as a cost-cutting measure.[49]

Anniversaries and special events[edit source | edit]

Team Special occasion
All Teams Planned #42 patch for Jackie Robinson Day (April 15; tribute converted to virtual experience on MLB.com/MLB Network[50])
Pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness (planned for May 10, Mother's Day)
"Play Ball" patch in partnership with USA Baseball and USA Softball (May 30–31)
Blue Ribbons for prostate cancer awareness (June 21, Father's Day)
Gold Ribbons for childhood cancer (August 28)
Atlanta Braves 25th Anniversary of 1995 World Series Championship
Baltimore Orioles 50th Anniversary of 1970 World Series Championship
Chicago Cubs 2020 MLB London Series (June 13–14, has since been canceled)
Chicago White Sox MLB at Field of Dreams (August 13) [51]
Detroit Tigers #6 patch in memory of Al Kaline
Kansas City Royals "DG" patch in memory of former owner David Glass
Los Angeles Dodgers 2020 All-Star Game
Miami Marlins MLB Puerto Rico Series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan, Puerto Rico (April 28–30, was canceled)
Milwaukee Brewers 50th Anniversary in Milwaukee
Minnesota Twins 60th season in the Twin Cities
New York Mets MLB Puerto Rico Series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan, Puerto Rico (April 28–30, was canceled)
New York Yankees MLB at Field of Dreams (August 13) [51]
Philadelphia Phillies 40th Anniversary of 1980 World Series Championship
Pittsburgh Pirates 60th Anniversary of 1960 World Series Championship
St. Louis Cardinals 2020 MLB London Series (June 13–14, has been since canceled)
Texas Rangers First season at Globe Life Field
Toronto Blue Jays Canadian flag patch for Canada Day (July 1)
Washington Nationals 2019 World Series Championship (TBD, initially scheduled for April 2)

Wholesale changes

The San Diego Padres have changed the primary colors of their uniforms from navy blue to brown and gold.[52]

The Arizona Diamondbacks tweaked their uniforms, including removing the darker away uniforms and the diamond pattern on the uniforms.[53]

The St. Louis Cardinals have made some changes to their logo, as it appears on their caps.[54]

The Cincinnati Reds added a new alternate jersey and a new spring training jersey.[55]

The Washington Nationals have added two new alternate hats and one alternate (white) jersey.[56]

The Milwaukee Brewers have introduced new uniforms, including a return to the ball-in-glove logo. They also switched out their gold color to yellow.[57]

The Minnesota Twins have a new alternate uniform, utilizing their powder blue 1973—1986 road uniform design.[58]

The Pittsburgh Pirates brought back the script "Pittsburgh" from the 1990s on new alternate and road uniforms, along with a gold outlined "P" on their caps.[59]

The Texas Rangers have introduced a new powdered blue jersey along with a powdered blue hat. They also changed the "Texas" wordmark to "Rangers" wordmark on their white jersey. They also revealed a new red hat with the state of Texas on it with "TX." [60]

The Toronto Blue Jays have a new alternate, a modern spin on its pre-SkyDome era powder blue road jerseys.[61]

Venues[edit source | edit]

This will be the Texas Rangers' first season at Globe Life Field, replacing Globe Life Park in Arlington where they played 26 seasons, from 1994 to 2019. The team will play its first regular-season game in their new venue against the Los Angeles Angels, originally on March 31, on a date to be determined after the pandemic hiatus.[62]

The Miami Marlins will convert Marlins Park from a natural grass surface to the same artificial turf variety, Shaw Sports B1K, that the Arizona Diamondbacks installed at Chase Field in 2019. The field's fences will also be moved in closer to encourage power hitting.[63]

The Atlanta Braves' SunTrust Park has been renamed Truist Park after SunTrust Banks's merger with BB&T Bank into Truist Financial.[64]

Broadcast rights[edit source | edit]

Television[edit source | edit]

National[edit source | edit]

This will be the seventh year of the current eight-year deals with Fox Sports, ESPN, and TBS. Fox will air eight weeks of baseball on Saturday nights leading up to the 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will also air on Fox. Fox then will televise Saturday Afternoon games for the final three weeks of the season. Fox will also televise the MLB at Field of Dreams game on August 13. FS1 will televise games on Tuesday night and on Saturday both during the afternoon and night. ESPN will televise games on its flagship telecast Sunday Night Baseball as well as Monday and Wednesday Nights. TBS will televise games on Sunday Afternoons for the last 13 weeks of the season. Fox and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecasts will be exclusive; all other national telecasts will be subject to local blackout.

TBS will televise the American League Wild Card Game, Division Series and Championship Series. ESPN will televise the National League Wild Card Game. FS1 and MLB Network will televise the National League Division Series. Fox and FS1 will televise the National League Championship Series. The World Series will air exclusively on Fox for the 21st straight year.

Local[edit source | edit]

In Chicago, new television deals resulted in the end of free-to-air regional telecasts for the city's two franchises. In February 2020, the Cubs launched the team-owned Marquee Sports Network, a joint venture with Sinclair Broadcast Group. The White Sox (as well as the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL and Chicago Bulls of the NBA) signed exclusively with NBC Sports Chicago under a multi-year deal.[65][66][67]

In November 2019, MLB owners voted unanimously to revert "certain in-market digital [streaming] rights" to the teams themselves.[68][69]

San Francisco Giants color commentator Mike Krukow and team broadcaster NBC Sports Bay Area announced that he would call 22 road games against NL West opponents from the network's San Francisco studios (using monitors and audio feeds to watch the game and communicate with his play-by-play partner Duane Kuiper). Krukow's inclusion body myositis has left him unable to travel with the team.[70]

On April 1, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Spectrum SportsNet LA reached a carriage deal with AT&T and DirecTV, concluding a seven-year impasse that had hindered the network's local availability.[71]

Radio[edit source | edit]

National[edit source | edit]

Local[edit source | edit]

  • The Oakland Athletics are the first MLB team to abandon terrestrial radio in their primary market in favor of streaming broadcasts only. The A's have created a service called A's Cast that will be available via TuneIn on smart phones, smart speakers, and other devices. The A's abandoned terrestrial radio due to various problems, including competition with other sports teams (especially the Golden State Warriors) for time on stations resulting in frequent pre-emptions and lowered priorities, and conflicts with regular station programming. Game broadcasts on A's Cast will be available at no charge within the Bay Area, nationally on TuneIn's pay Premium tier, and on MLB's traditional streaming platforms. The broadcasts will be carried on some terrestrial radio stations outside the Bay Area. The closest terrestrial station to Oakland is Sacramento's KHTK. Some games will be broadcast without advertising.[72][73]
  • Entercom's KMNB/Minneapolis will join WCCO as the FM flagship for the Minnesota Twins in an extension of rights until the 2023 season.[74]
  • Chicago White Sox radio play-by-play announcer Ed Farmer, a former pitcher for the team who had been part of the team's radio broadcast staff since 1991, died on April 1 after a long-term battle with polycystic kidney disease.[75] The team and its radio network has not yet announced his successor.

Retired numbers[edit source | edit]

Due to the delay of the start of season due to the coronavirus outbreak, the retirement ceremonies listed below will not happen until further notice.

  • Dave Stewart will have his #34 retired on May 23 by the Oakland Athletics. He will be the sixth player to have his number retired by the franchise and will be the second player to have the number retired in honor of them after it was originally retired in 1993 for Rollie Fingers.[77]
  • Jerry Koosman will have his #36 retired on June 13 by the New York Mets. He will be the third player and fourth individual to have his number retired by the franchise.[79]
  • Lou Whitaker will have his #1 retired on August 29 by the Detroit Tigers. He will be the ninth player and tenth individual to have his number retired by the franchise.[81]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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  2. Feinsand, Mark (March 16, 2020). "Opening of regular season to be pushed back". MLB.com. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
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  4. Kepner, Tyler (March 16, 2020). "M.L.B. Adjusts Expectations: 'As Many Baseball Games in 2020 as We Can'". The New York Times.
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  9. "Little League® Cancels 2020 World Series and Region Tournaments" (Press release). Little League Baseball. April 30, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  10. FAQ: After coronavirus shutdown, what will baseball look like in 2020?
  11. What the 2020 MLB season could look like once (if?) it gets going
  12. Sources: MLB, union focused on plan that could allow season to start as early as May in Arizona
  13. MLB considering radical realignment for 2020 season: Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, USA Today, Bob Nightengale, April 10, 2020.
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