Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It sure looks like baseball will finally be played in 2020.

The state of play: MLB owners voted unanimously Monday to impose a 60-game season that will begin around July 24, assuming players sign off on health-and-safety protocols and agree to arrive in home markets by July 1 to begin "spring" training.

Details: If the MLBPA agrees to the protocols and the July 1 arrival date by today's 5pm ET deadline, the 2020 season will look something like this:

  • Number of games: 60 (over ~66 days)
  • Spring training: July 1
  • Opening Day: July 24–26 range
  • Regular season end: Sept. 27
  • Playoff field: 10 teams (same as usual)
  • Salary structure: Full pro rata, which for 60 games means players will earn 37% of their full-season salary.

On-field changes:

  • Extra innings: MLB and the union previously agreed to adopt the minor league rule for extra innings, beginning every half-inning after the ninth with a runner on second base, per USA Today.
  • Universal DH: The designated hitter could still arrive in the NL this year to protect pitcher health, per The Athletic (subscription).

Health and safety: We'll soon find out what changes have been made to MLB's original 67-page plan, which included, among other things:

  • Testing: Multiple COVID-19 tests per week, plus multiple temperature screens per day.
  • Masks: Managers and coaches would wear masks in the dugout, while players would wear masks in the clubhouse.
  • Banned actions: No high-fives, fist bumps or hugs. And no spitting, chewing of tobacco or chewing of sunflower seeds.

What's next: With spring training 2.0 set to begin in about a week, players will need to travel to their home cities if they aren't in them already.

  • "Some will need to find housing — undoubtedly on short leases — so a lot has to happen in a short period of time," per ESPN.
  • "Roster sizes, taxi squads and new on-field rules for 2020 all have to come together — and fast."

The bottom line: In March, owners and players reached a deal that gave owners the right to impose a schedule of their desired length. After nearly three months of futile negotiations, that's ultimately what we got, with the two sides settling on a season not by agreement, but by disagreement.

  • Now, both parties will face a common enemy in COVID-19 — and hope their ugly back-and-forth didn't push too many sports fans away as they finally prepare to play ball.

Go deeper: A universal designated hitter is likely coming to the MLB

Go deeper

CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S.

Cruise Ships docked in April at the port at Marina Long Beach due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, in California. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

There have been at least 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, "in addition to at least 41 reported deaths," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

Driving the news: The CDC released the data from the period of March 1 through Sept. 29 in an emailed statement confirming the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Oct. 31, as first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan on Tuesday in his article revealing CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled in a push to extend the order into 2021.

Sep 30, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 cases on the rise among U.S. children

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An increasing number of COVID-19 cases among school-aged children across the U.S. throughout September may be linked to school reopenings and other community activities resuming.

Driving the news: The American Academy of Pediatrics reported this week that children of all ages make up 10% of U.S cases, up from 2% in April, per AP. As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted more than 435,000 cases among children ages 0–17, and 93 deaths.

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021

A laboratory technician preparing a blood sample for a vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that his company's coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until at least spring 2021, according to Financial Times.

Why it matters: Bancel told FT that the drugmaker will not seek emergency authorization for FDA approval for its vaccine for front-line medical workers and at-risk individuals until Nov. 25 at the earliest.

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