Report: Baseball owners approve plan for early July start to season


Major League Baseball owners have approved a plan that could start the season around July 4 in ballparks without fans and plan to send it to the players to review on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The league has been shut down since March when major sports leagues across the U.S. closed their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Spring training would begin in mid-June for three weeks, according to The Associated Press, with an 82-game regular season beginning in early July.

In an effort to cut down on travel, most of the games would be played against opponents in expanded divisions based on geography. The New York Mets and Yankees would play in the same division, for example, as would the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, Chicago Cubs and White Sox, or Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants.

The playoffs, which have consisted of 10 teams since 2012, would be expanded to 14 teams. As late as 1993, Major League Baseball only had four teams in the postseason before changing the format. 

The All-Star Game slated for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 14, is also likely to be canceled.

Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino also reported on Monday that teams will be given the option of spring training in their own stadiums or at their traditional venues in Florida or Arizona.

Gasparino also reports that the White House will need to approve the owners' plan in addition to the players union.

Sports are slowly coming back amid the pandemic, with the UFC hosting several fights over the past weekend. The decision to return earned praise from President Trump.

"I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They’re going to have a big match. We love it. We think it’s important," the president said in a message recorded outside the White House that was shown during ESPN's broadcast. White is UFC's commissioner and a staunch Trump supporter.

"Get the sports leagues back. Let’s play. You do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do," Trump added. "But we need sports. We want our sports back."

NASCAR has announced it will return May 17 with its first race in two months from Darlington, S.C., while the PGA Tour is set to return June 11.

The National Football League still plans on playing a full season with fans beginning in September, with the league cautioning that plans may change based on conditions surrounding the pandemic.

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