After a lengthy stalemate in negotiations to begin a shortened 2020 season, it appears there might be Major League Baseball this summer after all.
According to a report by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, MLB owners and the Major League Baseball Players' Association are close to an agreement that would see a 66-game season beginning next month.
While the initial tweet suggested a 60-game schedule, both Rosenthal and The Athletic's Jayson Stark suggested that the union could have one more counter that would involve adding more games, with 66 making the most sense.
Under the agreement, the 2020 season would begin July 19-20 and give the players a full prorated salary they previously agreed to in March. In the following proposals, owners had offered a percentage of that amount due to the probability that fans will not be allowed to attend games because of the pandemic.
The number of games has also been a sticking point as players have wanted to play as many games as possible to retain their prorated salary. However, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer explained that owners want more postseason games because they keep all of the money from postseason games. The TV rights to playoff games were sold to Turner Sports for over $1 billion last weekend.
Bauer also criticized Commissioner Rob Manfred for dragging negotiations along with threats of canceling of the season, arbitration and grievances with the MLBPA.
Despite the MLBPA saying Wednesday afternoon that no agreement has been reached, a statement by Manfred suggests that the two sides have made enough progress on a deal where clubs could "move forward."
It remains to be seen if the two sides can actually strike a deal, but it appears that maybe there's been enough progress that baseball can now compete with the NHL, NBA, MLS, WNBA and NFL in a backlogged COVID-19 universe.