(New York) Major Baseball and the Players’ Association reached an agreement regarding health protocols for the 2021 season on Monday.
This agreement ensures that the seven-run doubles programs and the runner on second pad in extra innings will be back for a second consecutive season.
This agreement does not, however, include the addition of the designated hitter in the National or the increase in the number of teams in the playoffs. Last year, 16 teams made the playoffs rather than 10. Major Baseball proposed expanding the playoff format to 14 teams, but withdrew the idea in January.
In the last season, the increase in the number of playoff teams only materialized a few hours before the first pitch of the campaign.
Last year 78 games required extra innings and the two longest games ended in 13e handle. Every season since 1901 had seen at least one game of 15 or more innings.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of 45 games and only two of them were not picked up. To make up for lost games, there were 56 double programs, the highest total since 1984.
The deal includes more sophisticated contact tracing, which includes the use of technology, and more behavioral rules to comply with new COVID-19 protocols.
Spring camps will begin on February 17 and the season will begin on February 1er April. Last week, the Players Association rejected a proposal from Major League Baseball to delay the start of camps and the season. This plan would have reduced the schedule to 154 games rather than 162.
The start of the final season has been postponed from March 26 to July 23 due to the pandemic. Each team’s schedule had been reduced to 60 games.