Major League Baseball is set to return. The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred’s imposed outline for a 60-game 2020 season. Players are set report for another version of “spring” training on July 1, and the regular season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced.
The two sides also finalized coronavirus health and safety protocols on Tuesday night. Here’s part of the league’s statement announcing MLB’s return:
The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.
MLB has submitted a 60-game regular season schedule for review by the Players Association. The proposed schedule will largely feature divisional play, with the remaining portion of each Club’s games against their opposite league’s corresponding geographical division (i.e., East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West), in order to mitigate travel. The vast majority of Major League Clubs are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities.
Commissioner Manfred said: “Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with Baseball again soon.”
MLB owners voted unanimously Monday night to have Manfred mandate a season. In a statement, Manfred had requested that the players respond by 5 p.m. ET so that the league could proceed with scheduling that imposed season. The league and players failed to reach a modified agreement for a 2020 season after weeks of negotiations and Manfred had the right to impose a schedule thanks to a deal the two sides struck in March.
The negotiations about a return-to-play plan stalled when it came to the length of the season and the financial compensation players would receive. The union’s ability to file a grievance against the league, which could result in a substantial cash windfall, also became a matter of importance later in the talks.
Originally, the league had submitted a 67-page proposal outlining all the safety and testing protocols that would be installed this season. Little else had been leaked about negotiations concerning those regulations, though the two sides were suggested to be closer than not, with the league bending to players’ requests for greater access to medical and training equipment.
It’s worth noting that 40 MLB players and staff members reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus in recent days. MLB has also reportedly ordered all spring training sites to be closed and sanitized, and personnel must test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to return.
Here are seven other things to know about the 2020 MLB season.
Format of regional schedule finalized The exact schedule still needs to be made, but we know the structure of it. Every team will play 40 games against divisional foes (or 10 apiece) and 20 interleague games against the geographical equivalent. The Nationals, for example, will play all their games against NL and AL East teams.
Teams to submit 60-player rosters; will open with 30-player rosters Predictably, things are going to move at a rapid pace. That includes teams submitting 60-player rosters for big-league spring training, with that list due to the league office by Sunday at 2 p.m. CT, according to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark.
Stark added in a subsequent tweet that teams don’t have to invite all 40 of their players on the 40-player roster to camp, but that those players must be paid regardless of their invite status.
Once the season begins, teams will be allowed to carry 30 players on their active roster. That number will drop to 28 after two weeks, then 26 after four weeks, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Universal DH among rule changes MLB will have at least two rule changes this season: a universal DH (yes, that means pitchers will no longer hit in the NL) and a baserunner placed on second at the start of every half-inning in extras. You can read more about that here.
Transaction freeze to end this week On a related note, teams will be able to make transactions again beginning Friday at noon, per Stark. Between that and the subsequent 60-player submission deadline, it’s possible that baseball sees its first trades in months before the end of the week.
Trade deadline will fall in August Speaking of trades, MLB will have a trade deadline this year after all. Instead of falling on July 31, it’ll come a month later, on August 31. Unlike in most years, that will represent the midway point of the season.
COVID-specific inactive list According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB will have a COVID-19-specific inactive list that players will be placed on if and when they test positive or show symptoms. There will be no set amount of time for the player to sit out, unlike the injured list, which requires hitters to miss at least 10 days.
Unsigned players head to Nashville? Here’s perhaps the most surprising element of the details revealed so far. Per Stark, MLB has talked with the city of Nashville about hosting two teams of unsigned players who would be paid to remain in shape as potential replacement players, should the need arise during the season. Teams would then have to pay to add these players. It’s unclear exactly who would be involved and how it would work, but it’s worth knowing that it’s a possibility being discussed. 8.The Cubs and White Sox will meet 4 times(twice in each team’s Ballpark).Other teams the Sox or Cubs will play will be 10 times total.
In a stunning move, the Blackhawks fired President and CEO John McDonough on Monday. The club announced the decision in an official release from owner Rocky Wirtz.
“Thirteen years ago, I recruited John to the Blackhawks because of his leadership, direction and vision,” Wirtz wrote. “John brought all of that to the table and more. His contributions went well beyond leading the team to three Stanley Cup Championships. He rebuilt the front office and helped guide the organization toward a winning vision. As difficult as this is, we believe it was the right decision for the future of the organization and its fans.”
The Blackhawks have been one of the most successful NHL teams since McDonough took office in 2007, winning three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) and restoring pride to an Original Six franchise that had been through a major drought prior to his tenure. McDonough was also instrumental in getting the Blackhawks to thrive on the business side of operations, turning the franchise into a sustainable and successful operation.
The organization ranked as the NHL‘s fourth-most valuable franchise with a $1.085 billion valuation from Forbes in 2019, trailing only the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Canadiens. The team has sold out their last 531 consecutive home games.
Despite the revitalization under McDonough’s leadership, the club’s decision to go in a different direction comes in the midst of a rough patch for the franchise’s on-ice product. The Blackhawks haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 and haven’t won a playoff series since their 2015 Cup run. They’ve undergone significant changes since their run of three Cups in six years; The front office has needed to maneuver around cap constraints and beloved head coach Joel Quenneville was fired in 2018.
Wirtz seems to believe that parting ways with McDonough is a necessary step to get the franchise back on track. If nothing else, it sends a strong message about what is expected of the team now.
“While we can reassure our fans there will be hockey again, no one knows what that will look like,” Wirtz said. “What we do know is that it will take a new mindset to successfully transition the organization to win both on and off the ice.”
The tight end position was not a pressing need so it is hard to justify the selection of Cole Kmet in the second round. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is a great player but was only on the board because he had been dealing with an injury. Edge rusher Trevis Gipson was picked too early. Cornerback Kindle Vildor was a solid pick. He is a feisty competitor who can step in and fulfill a nickel role. Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney has great speed but needs to continue his development. The Bears ended the event by adding two relatively unknown prospects: offensive linemen Arlington Hambright and Lachavious Simmons.
The Bulls have completely overhauled their basketball operations over the past several months. Gone is the tandem of John Paxson and Gar Forman, which reigned over the Bulls for over a decade, and in their place is the new president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas. On Sunday, the Bulls reportedly landed his No. 2. as Philadelphia 76ers executive Marc Eversley will be the new general manager of the Bulls.With the status of the 2019-20 season up in the air, it could be quite some time before the Bulls are able to make a decision and begin this new era, but after so many years of underperforming teams built by the “GarPax” tandem, the combination of Karnisovas and Eversley should at least provide some optimism to a Chicago fanbase that hasn’t had much of it in recent years. Eversley joined the 76ers in 2016, a hire of former Philadephia GM Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo gave Eversley his big break, hiring him from Nike to serve on his staff with the Toronto Raptors in 2006. He was the vice president of scouting for the Washington Wizards prior to rejoining the 76ers, where he had served as both vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager. He will now join Karnisovas in reshaping a Bulls team that has fallen on hard times in recent years. The Bulls have not made the playoffs since trading Jimmy Butler in 2017, and have missed out in four of the past five seasons overall. While youngsters like Coby White, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine have shown promise, none have separated themselves as potential franchise players. The Bulls of the past several seasons have lacked direction. It will be up to Karnisovas and Eversley to find one, and that starts with making a decision on the future of coach Jim Boylen. Boylen, who has a 39-84 record in Chicago, is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s worst coaches, but has the support of the Reinsdorf family, owners of the team.With the status of the 2019-20 season up in the air, it could be quite some time before the Bulls are able to make a decision and begin this new era, but after so many years of underperforming teams built by the “GarPax” tandem, the combination of Karnisovas and Eversley should at least provide some optimism to a Bulls fanbase that hasn’t had much of it in recent years.
The Bulls have been interviewing candidates for less than a week, but in that time, they appear to have found their new top-decision-maker. They are currently finalizing a deal to hire current Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive vice president of basketball operations, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Karnisovas has been with the Nuggets since 2013 and has been the team’s general manager since 2017, working under president of basketball operations Tim Connelly in building one of the Western Conference’s top contenders. He was present for the drafting of virtually every core player on the Nuggets, including Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Michael Porter Jr. and previously worked for both the Houston Rockets and the league office. He was a highly coveted candidate for a top role like this having previously interviewed with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks for such a position.
Karnisovas will be hiring his own general manager and has seemingly been given total control over the franchise’s basketball operations. Former vice president of basketball operations John Paxson will remain only in an advisory role, whereas current general manager Gar Forman’s future with the team is up in the air. Nothing is known yet of the status of coach Jim Boylen, though ownership reportedly preferred a new front office to at least keep an open mind about retaining him.
The Bulls have struggled mightily in recent years, first under Fred Hoiberg and now under Boylen. They have made the playoffs only once in the past five seasons, and have been unable to find a true cornerstone with the high draft picks that losing has granted them. Former franchise player Jimmy Butler, meanwhile, has thrived since the Bulls decided to trade him, putting further pressure on the unpopular front office tandem of Paxson and Forman. The two have run the Bulls in tandem for over a decade, with Paxson being the only top decision-maker with the Bulls since 2003, when he succeeded the architect of their 1990s dynasty, Jerry Krause.
That resistance to change has been a staple in with the Bulls, but Karnisovas has worked for one of the NBA‘s more innovative teams of the past few seasons. Denver’s creativity in building around a pass-first center in Jokic will be welcome as the Bulls attempts to meaningfully contend for a championship for the first time since Tom Thibodeau’s departure. They have quite a ways to go, but in hiring one of the NBA’s most respected general managers, they’ve taken the first step back in that direction.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus is causing cancellations and postponements of sporting events around the globe. As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been at least 116,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to CBS News. While 64,000 people have recovered, more than 4,000 have died. In America, multiple states are under a state of emergency and some politicians and public health officials are recommending large gatherings of people — including sporting events — in coronavirus hotspots be canceled or closed to the public.
Organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the biggest global sporting event of the year, are already concerned that the disease will problematic, and the status of the games could be up in the air as late as May.
Charlie McAvoy scored 1:19 into overtime, and the Boston Bruins beat the Blackhawks 2-1 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.McAvoy finished a pretty passing sequence for the defenseman’s first goal of the season. David Krejci threw the puck outside to a streaking Jake DeBrusk, who made a perfect pass to McAvoy for the tap-in on the right side of the net.The Blackhawks thought they had taken a 2-1 lead with 1:05 left in regulation when it looked as if Drake Caggiula beat Jaroslav Halak for a short-handed goal. But it was waved off by the referee Peter McDougal after Bruins defenseman Torey Krug tripped Olli Maatta for a penalty.The crowd of 21,472 booed vociferously when the ruling was announced.After the game, the Officials admitted that they blew that call, There was no hand pass,although McDougal blew hit whistle.
Sean Kuraly also scored for Boston, which was coming off a 4-0 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night. Halak made 21 saves.The Home team wasted a terrific performance by Robin Lehner, who made 38 stops in his first start since Jan. 21. The Blackhawks also lost defenseman Adam Boqvist to a right shoulder injury in the second period.Alex DeBrincat had the Blackhawks only goal. Next up for the Blackhawks, who are fighting to stay in the mix for the Western Conference’s second wild card, is a five-game trip to Canada.Boqvist got hurt when he was pushed into the boards by Krejci 6:13 into the second period. The 19-year-old Boqvist then skated off with his right arm hanging on his side, while Krejci was sent off for boarding.Krejci’s penalty turned into DeBrincat’s third power-play goal of the season. Kirby Dach was denied by Halak in front, but DeBrincat skated in from the side and knocked it home for a 1-0 lead at 6:50.Boston controlled the play early on, but Lehner stepped up for the Hawks. He made 16 saves in the first, including a terrific stop on Krejci with 1:51 left in the period.After the Blackhawks jumped in front in the second, Kuraly skated behind the net and into the right circle before beating Lehner through the goaltender’s legs at 12:49. It was Kuraly’s fifth of the year.Boston had a prime scoring opportunity near the end of the second, but Charlie Coyle, Krug and Kuraly were denied in rapid succession by Lehner.
Tha Hawks and Boston closed out their season series. The Blackhawks beat the Bruins 4-3 on Dec. 5 on Jonathan Toews’ overtime goal.
Patrick Mahomes outplayed Mitchell Trubisky, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another score, and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears 26-3 Sunday night to stay in contention for a first-round playoff bye. Kansas City (11-4) earned its fifth straight win and remained a game behind New England for the AFC’s second seed. The Patriots clinched their 11th consecutive AFC East championship by beating Buffalo on Saturday. The Chiefs hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over New England thanks to a victory two weeks ago that helped secure their fourth AFC West title in a row. Mahomes’ big game in his first appearance at Soldier Field is just another blow for Chicago in a rough season that began with Super Bowl hopes. The Bears passed on Mahomes when they traded up a spot to grab Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. Mahomes went to Kansas City at No. 10 and won the MVP award last season. Trubisky has not performed the way the Bears envisioned. And with their playoff hopes already dashed coming off an NFC North championship, they got outclassed by Kansas City. Mahomes, playing his 30th game, became the fastest player to reach the 9,000-yard passing mark. He was 23 of 33 for 251 yards, giving him 9,238 in three seasons. Hall of Famer Kurt Warner did it in 32 games. Mahomes also has 75 touchdown passes, making him the fastest player to hit that mark. Travis Kelce, already the first tight end with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, became the first to reach 1,200 yards in back-to-back years. He caught eight passes for 74 yards, giving him 1,205 this year. That included a 6-yard touchdown near the end of the first half. Harrison Butker kicked a career-best 56-yard field goal that was the fourth-longest in franchise history. He also hit both the left and right uprights on a missed extra point. And coach Andy Reid beat protege Matt Nagy in his first meeting with his longtime former assistant. ”Proud of Matt,” Reid said. ”It is a process. He is going about it the right way.” The Bears (7-8) dropped their second straight after winning four of five. Trubisky completed 18 of 34 passes for 157 yards. Khalil Mack had a sack, and fans let the Bears have it before heading toward the exits in the closing minutes. ”I think it just comes to down all of us with the details and just understanding that on each and every play, we all need to be extremely detailed,” Nagy said. ”We all need to understand where we’re at and how important it is.” DOMINATING EARLY The Chiefs have outscored Denver and Chicago a combined 49-6 the past two weeks. And they took control early in this one. Kansas City led 17-0 at halftime after scoring on all three possessions and racking up more than twice as many yards as the Bears (203-93). Mahomes rolled to his left and went 12 yards untouched to the end zone, capping a 15-play drive that ate up 7 minutes, 58 seconds. Butker nailed a 56-yard field goal early in the second quarter. And Mahomes hit Kelce for the TD in the closing minute of the half, after Chicago’s Kevin Pierre-Louis got flagged for running into punter Dustin Colquitt. The Bears drove to the 4 in the third, but Trubisky’s fourth-down pass to Allen Robinson in the left side of the end zone got broken up by Charvarius Ward. Chicago finally scored when Eddy Pineiro kicked a 46-yard field goal as the quarter ended. Mahomes answered with a 14-yard touchdown to Damien Williams on the opening drive of the fourth to make it 23-3. Butker then missed the extra point when the ball somehow ricocheted off the left and right uprights.
INJURIES Chiefs: The Chiefs said in the fourth quarter RB Spencer Ware suffered a shoulder injury. Bears: NT Eddie Goldman (concussion) exited in the first half. … RG Rashaad Coward suffered a knee injury in the first half