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Yes, it finally happened. Baseball is back.

After long on going disputes that involved eight proposals and conuter proposals, between Major League Baseball (Team owners) and the Players Association, both sides have come to an agreement for a shortened season.

In March, when the discussions began between MLB and the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association), a large population of baseball fans believed that the season was for sure going to return. But as time ticked away, the thought that the season may not return began sprouting, and the concerns began rising.

Team owners and the Players Association would have nagging disputes that lasted a little over three months, determining salary and a total of games for a potential season. Many are calling this back-and-forth argument an embarrassment for Major League Baseball, and they aren’t wrong. Many other leaugues such as the NBA, NHL and PLL have have a plan set in stone on when games will return. In that simple process, disputes are at the bare minimum.

Three months removed from the beginning of conversations between the two sides, the baseball world was given a glimpse of hope when Commissioner Rob Manfred stated on ESPN, “And I can tell you unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year”.

The baseball world went into a frenzy of excitement after this uplifting quote by Manfred. At the time, all baseball fans were on cloud-9 and given the best news they could possibly hear. The most common assumption from this quote is that, “a high tide lifts all boats.” Wrong. Very little and arguably no progress was made between the Players Association and Major League Baseball following Manfred’s appearance on ESPN.

Then, players chimed and let their voices and thoughts be heard by leading a subtle yet powerful social media movement: “Tell us when and where!”. At this point, players were furious with the lack of progress the two sides have been making at the time, and you can’t blame them.

A few days following the uniting and impactful social media movement, Commissioner Manfred held a private meeting with Executive Director of the MLBPA Tony Clark, in favor of getting a deal done. To say the least, the meeting went well and the results show for it.

June 23rd:

The meeting between Manfred and Clark, many may say, saved baseball. Putting pen on paper, the two sides have came together on an agreement and America’s pastime will in fact, return!

The details have been set and all players will report July 1st to their team facilities. Players will have ability to opt-out of the 60-game season if they don’t feel comfortable playing. Due to the ongoing pandemic, players would have to test negative for the virus in order to participate and play.

Slight variables have been set in place to help contain and combat the virus during this shortened season. Spitting on the field and in the dugout is prohibited. And to limit germs being spread, pitchers have to carry a rag on the mound to avoid licking their fingers (for a stronger grip on the ball). Lastly, fans will not be able to attend games as they will be played fan-less.

The post season will not be expanded like a regular season. Teams will be able to place player on a “coronavirus injury list”, if a player is feeling under the weather and showing symptoms of the virus. The universal DH will be making its way to Major League Baseball for the first time ever. Lastly, to speed up the play, in all extra innings a runner will start on 2nd base.

All in all, these unique variables on the shortened season makes the return of baseball that much sweeter.

For one final time, baseball is back. Play Ball.

Photo: MLB on FOX