CHICAGO — The White Sox and Cubs are attempting to return this summer after Major League Baseball and the players union reached a tentative deal to salvage the 2020 baseball season late Tuesday.
Players are set to report to training camp at their home ballparks July 1, and Opening Day will be held July 23 or 24.
That means neighbors of Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field could soon be hearing the crack of a bat by next week, but fans won’t be allowed inside the ballparks even when games resume.
Chicago’s two teams celebrated the move on social media.
Under the agreement, each team will play 60 games: 40 divisional games and 20 geographically-appointed interleague games. A schedule of games is still being worked out.
There will be a number of other major changes for the season: If the game goes into extra innings, teams will begin with a runner on second base; and there will be a universal designated hitter, for example.
Any games in Chicago would be played without spectators, at least at the start of the season. State rules prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more, and Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have said they want professional sports to return — but don’t think it’d be safe to have crowds in the stands.
The season is facing major obstacles as it attempts to start, though, as it’s expected to be challenging to prevent outbreaks and keep people safe.
Even last week, teams reported players and staff members testing positive for coronavirus — and outbreaks during the season could halt play.
The MLB is trying to mitigate those risks by imposing changes like having staff members wear masks in the dugout and testing players every other day.
Contributing: Dan Brown
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