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

9 hours ago - Sports

Japan preps for baseball fans as U.S. struggles with coronavirus surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

While MLB struggles with testing delays ahead of its shortened season, Japan's Nippon Pro Baseball (NPB) — the world's second-best league behind MLB — has not only resumed play, but will soon allow fans at games.

Jul 5, 2020 - Sports

Sports return stalked by coronavirus

Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Austin Meadows bumps elbows Friday during a workout at Tropicana Field. Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports via Reuters

When MLB teams arrived at the ballpark this weekend for the first summer workouts of 2020, the comforting sounds of baseball brought smiles to players' faces.

Between the lines: Even the loudest crack of the bat couldn't mask the eerie silence or distract from the ever-present coronavirus threat.

Updated 21 hours ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records in the past week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

California recorded 11,529 new novel coronavirus cases on Sunday, beating the record it set last week (9,480).

The big picture: At least 15 states have broken their single-day coronavirus infection records in the past week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.