Detroit Tigers Baseball Set for July 1

MLB and MLBPA agree to start the season on July 1st.

The past few months of watching MLB and the MLBPA have been an endless back and forth of details of games played, profits to be shared, and even to a certain degree, basic rights. But pending anything strange happening in the next week or so,  there will be 60 games of Detroit Tigers baseball to come around July 24. Here is the basic information that will help you figure out this mess.

When would “Spring Training” start?

Spring Training would start on July 1. MLB asked the MLBPA yesterday if players will be able to report to training in the cities they play in by that date so we will see players at Comerica Park. Matt Boyd and a few others have been training at the ballpark since March.

Playoffs and salary?

There would be ten teams in the playoffs and the players would receive full pro-rata, which means they will earn about 37% of their full-season salary, provided that the schedule is completed.

COVID-19 testing and safety?

Here is what will be implemented for the players to keep them safe, providing they are willing to sign off on that portion of the agreement this afternoon or tomorrow:

  • No high-fives, fist bumps, or hugs. (You may see a lot of golf claps or “the wave” in play)
  • No spitting, chewing of tobacco, or sunflower seeds. So no big wads in baseball cards, Mickey Tettleton style.
  • No postgame showers
  • Once a ball is touched multiple times, it will be thrown out
  • Social distancing, which is a min of six feet, will still be enforced among coaches, umpires, and fielders. That will take a lot of effort by all parties.
  • Players who are not playing would sit in the stands again, practicing social distancing like the players on the field
  • Players will be screened for temperature several times game day and tested for the coronavirus multiple times during the week. If they test positive, they will be immediately quarantined.

Can fans go to the game?

The league according to a report, will reportedly allow local governments to make decisions if fans can attend games for up to 50%.  So it’s up to Governor Whitmer and the state to decide that for Detroit Tigers fans.

Who are the Tigers playing?

10 games between AL Central opponents and four between NL Central teams. Look out for the official schedule to be out soon.

Any rule changes?

For the first time ever, there will be a DH in the NL and if a team goes into extra innings, a runner will start on second base. That rule has been in the minors for a while but now we see this idea come to life in a shortened season.

What took so long for this to happen?

The obvious way to go here is money and how much the players and owners would make. The negotiations have been terrible but as much as money, advances in technology in which how you consume the game and TV contracts, the one constant is still the same between MLB and the players. Distrust.

We have seen the 1994 strike referenced in a lot of articles,  but another reminder of distrust was in the 1980s.  MLB owners were found to have colluded against players by limiting players to sign elsewhere in a three-year time span from 1985 until 1987. Two former Tigers in Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris did not receive offers when free agency came about.  Even now, while it is has been never determined to be true, it was rather strange that elite players more recently have been finding it difficult to sign to long-term deals. Former Tiger J.D Martinez comes to mind as a recent example.

The goal for the owners is simple. Profit. Winning may play a part in franchisees but all winning does is increase profits. In certain cases, similar to the NFL, profits are a guarantee, thanks to lucrative TV contracts so the whole “tanking” trend can be questioned by players, who are stuck on teams that are doing terrible and could affect their ability to go elsewhere.

Something during this whole pandemic I have noticed is the two sides of fans on social media. One side wants baseball back because they miss the game, understand the players’ struggle for basic rights to make sure they are covered in case of the virus getting back to their families and the other fans, who want the players to shut up, show up and play. I admit as a writer and as a podcaster, I would like the game back but in a way that players are safe from COVID-19 but just judging by how all of this been going, who is certain what path is the correct one.

There is no clear winner who won this imaginary war.  MLB has taken a serious black eye for all the back and forth but it is good to see among all the chaos, there has been dialogue created by the players to inform fans what is going on.  This tweet by Aiden Gonzalez of ESPN I think, sums it up nicely when we look back in history.