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Major League Baseball players and owners have spent weeks trying to reach an agreement on things such as how many games the season will be and whether there will be fully prorated salaries, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still a serious concern.
On Saturday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the players elected to delay voting on the league’s proposal that calls for a 60-game season “for several days” so they can review the safety and health protocols as COVID-19 forces a number of spring training camps to be shut down.
The players aren’t the only ones with reported concerns about COVID-19, as Nightengale also reported the owners are “openly wondering if they can squeeze in a 60-game season” if the season cannot start until late July.
Nightengale also reported every team in the league except the Toronto Blue Jays will likely have spring training camps in their home cities instead of Arizona and Florida due to higher COVID-19 numbers.
Toronto may have to play in Florida because of travel restrictions with Canada.
This comes after Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the Major League Baseball Players Association’s eight-person union executive subcommittee was expected to reject the league’s proposal for a 60-game season. That could present a situation where commissioner Rob Manfred would unilaterally set a shorter schedule.
The owners have since rejected the players’ latest proposal for a 70-game season, which MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark said “represents the basis for an agreement on a resumption of play” in a statement.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the players’ proposal calls for full prorated salaries, a season that ran from July 19 through Sept. 30, expanded playoffs for two years, universal designated hitters and a waiver of potential grievances.
ESPN also reported the league is temporarily closing all training camps with the ones in Arizona and Florida undergoing a deep cleaning. The decision comes after the Philadelphia Phillies closed their spring training facility in Florida following positive COVID-19 tests for five players.