Baseball season to finally begin a month from now -

Rich Dubroff

Baseball season to finally begin a month from now

Three weeks later than Major League Baseball had hoped, the 2020 season will finally get underway on July 23 and 24.

And with it, the Orioles are about to enter the age of “speed baseball.” Instead of 162 games, they’ll play 60 in the 2020 season.

How unusual is that? Let’s look back 10 years when, in 2010, the Orioles employed three managers — Dave Trembley, Juan Samuel and Buck Showalter. Each of managed roughly a third of the season, but none managed 60 games.

Last year, the Orioles were 19-41 after 60 games, but in this rushed season, nothing will compare with last season.

The Orioles will play just nine opponents in the 60 games, the four in the AL East and five in the National League East. A year ago, through 60 games, they faced 12 different opponents.

There will be some added wrinkles. Extra innings will begin with a runner on second base in an effort to prevent excessively long games.

In the first 60 games of last season, the Orioles played just two extra-inning games, but perhaps the most memorable of 2020 came on July 25 when a desperate manager Brandon Hyde resorted to using Stevie Wilkerson to save a game against the Los Angeles Angels in the 16th inning.

Games would be less likely require multiple extra innings with this rule, which has been used in recent years in the minor leagues.

When the season begins, 30 players will be on the active roster. After 15 days, there will be 28. Two weeks later, the roster drops to 26.


Three taxi squad players, which includes a catcher, can accompany teams on road trips.

The trading deadline moves from July 31 to August 31, and the deadline for teams to add players from outside the organization and have them eligible for the postseason is September 15.

A freeze on transactions, which has been in place since shortly after play was halted on March 12 because of Covid-19, will be lifted on Friday.

The report date for spring training is July 1. All players will be tested for the coronavirus, and camp will begin on July 3.

Small-group workouts will precede larger ones, and then there will be a few exhibition games. The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals could be the opponents.

Three days before spring training, a list of 60 players eligible to be used in the major leagues must be submitted. That would include players on the 40-man roster and additional non-roster players.

Players not on the active roster will report to a site to be announced and could play in intrasquad games. The Orioles could use Aberdeen, Bowie or Frederick for these players.

Position players and pitchers will have to stay on the injured list for a minimum of 10 days. In lieu of a 60-day injured list, there will be a 45-day one.

Any player testing positive for COVID-19 will be placed on a separate list.

With just 60 games, will the Orioles try to script their pitching? Perhaps they will decide ahead of time if they want to give Keegan Akin or Bruce Zimmermann a certain number of starts later in the season.

It’s impossible to plan a 162-game season because so much happens. But with one barely a third as long, maybe there’s some merit in having a plan that gives the Orioles’ young pitchers and position players a number of looks.

Hyde and general manager Mike Elias will need to be flexible. Outfielder Yusniel Diaz and infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle have yet to make their major league debuts. Hyde and Elias won’t telegraph their plans, but it would seem easier to do so with a schedule that’s just over two months.

Next winter’s free-agent market is likely to be a quiet one. With teams losing money this year, it’s unlikely there will be big contracts, and many players are likely to be non-tendered.

The Orioles might need to find a trading partner for reliever Mychal Givens, who will be a free agent after the 2021 season.

It will be a season of no lineup card exchanges, no arguing with umpires from closer than six feet, no spitting and no fighting.

How will players react to the lack of atmosphere at the ballpark? Players feed off even sparse crowds, and they might find it rough to play in an emotionless ballpark night after night.

Soon, there will be a real schedule to be scrutinized and opponents to be analyzed. The Orioles will play 40 games against the AL East and 20 against the NL East. The DH will be used in all games.

The conditions surrounding the game will be most different, and probably not much fun.

However, as then-commissioner Bud Selig said after the strike of 1995 came to an abrupt end: “The players are back. The game is back, and we are very happy about that.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB





  1. Eastern Sho Joe

    June 24, 2020 at 7:24 am

    Didn’t think we’d see this, but is certainly welcome. I’m especially interested in how the Minors are going to work considering that is where our hope for contending is at. I’m also curious to see if Chris Davis’ hitting picks up where it was before the shutdown.

    I’m sure nobody is happier to see action more than you Rich since you will now have some subject matter to write about.

  2. Bhoffman1

    June 24, 2020 at 8:00 am

    If there is no minor league season why not play Andy R , Diaz, Mountcastle, Kremer , Bauman , Grayson etc. What do we really have to lose. Does it matter if we win 30 games instead of 20. It’s better then having them sit on their butt.

    • ClayDal

      June 24, 2020 at 8:20 am

      Mountcastle and Kremer are on the 40 man roster, the others aren’t. Assuming you meant Adley Rutschman instead of Andy, he doesn’t need to be added to the 40 man roster until after the 2022 season. Same with Grayson. Problem with bringing them up too soon is you would have to use options to send them back to the minors. Once they are added to the roster, they only have 3 years until you are forced to keep them on the active roster or risk losing them to waivers. The Blue Jays brought up Miguel Castro when he was 20. Now he is 25 and out of options. Dylan Bundy signed a major league contract out of high school and was out of options by 22. Both of those guys could have used more time in the minors. No need to hurry Rutschman or Grayson. It would hurt them in the long run. Wou

    • ClayDal

      June 24, 2020 at 8:22 am

      Wouldn’t sell any tickets anyway since we can’t go to the games.

    • Bhoffman1

      June 24, 2020 at 8:56 am

      It might not screw then up I believe if some players have exceptional talents they can develop quicker in the majors then minors. First of all in a sixty game season there is no reason why Diaz and Mountcastle should not be playing regularly sitting them out is ridiculous. As for Adley I saw him in WPB in a spring training game his swing can handle major league pitchers so let him develop in 60 games and he could be on the roster in2021. Same for some of the young pitchers

    • ClayDal

      June 24, 2020 at 11:33 am

      The plan with Rutschman, before the season was rudely interrupted by the virus, was to fast track him through the minors this year and bring him to Baltimore in June 2021. Like they did with Wieters. Probably on a Friday night before a big crowd. When/if Rutschman comes here, he’s the regular catcher. Not a backup or part time DH. Same with Grayson. When he’s ready, he will be in the rotation. No need to retard his progress by having him languish in the bullpen. He can resume his career next year in Frederick or it’s equivalency

    • Bhoffman1

      June 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      You do not get my point . They should play not languish in the bullpen. Let them learn here with the big boys in a 60 game Season . How old was Palmer when he came up and he’s our best pitcher ever. When you have superior talent the minors is overated

    • ClayDal

      June 24, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      Grayson Rodriguez played at Delmarva last year. In an ordinary year would have started in Frederick and hopefully wind up at Bowie by seasons end. Then in a year or two hopefully in Baltimore. By the end of the 2022 season he would have to be added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Then he would have 3 years where he could be optioned if he wasn’t ready. By 2026, he would have to remain on the active roster or exposed to waivers. Suppose Rodriguez pitches for the Orioles this year and is overmatched. In order to take him off the active roster they would have to use an option on him. It would reduce the developmental window and could result in the Orioles having to keep him on the active roster when he isn’t ready. Ditto for Rutschman. I want Rutschman and Rodriguez up here when they are ready. This year is a waste anyway, so let them resume their careers next year-in front of fans

    • Bhoffman1

      June 24, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      I give up you intellectualize everything too much. I’m old fashioned let them play instead of cast offs and maybe they will be ready live in the moment not the future. We have been bad so long this format and no minors could be a great opportunity for young talent

    • ClayDal

      June 24, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Look, I want Rodriguez and Rutschman up here as much as anybody. But having them up here this year shortens their development window. Not that big a deal with Rutschman because I think he could be here as early as next year. But having Rodriguez skip 3 levels would be shortsighted. You would be reducing his development time from 5 years to 3 years. The hope is that he will be ready earlier but isn’t better to exercise caution instead of rushing these guys when they aren’t ready? Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Manny Machado were ready. 2 Hall of Famers and 1 probable Hall of Fame. No need to start their clock prematurely. When they are ready, they will be here-and hopefully stay here

    • CalsPals

      June 24, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      As I’ve said too many times, the dreaded clock comes into the conversation…go O’s…

  3. Bman

    June 24, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Finally, baseball. Don’t screw it up mlb.

  4. Orial

    June 24, 2020 at 8:32 am

    As you stated Rich players react to crowds no matter the size. Wondering if that could level the playing field somewhat( Yankees less productive) or does talent win out? Read in another article that each game will have an added sense of urgency with a limited schedule( a positive takeaway). Negative side–just can’t get away from playing those damn Yankés. Positive side– no Yanke/RedSox fans swarming OPACY.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 24, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Orial, talent is the key factor, but in a short season, an eight-game losing streak would make it hard to come back. In a 162-game season, that can be overcome.

    • BirdsCaps

      June 25, 2020 at 1:00 am

      God bless ya Orial. If you can see the good in a 60 game Fanless season with the background of lockdown, covid, and unrest, I commend you!

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 24, 2020 at 9:02 am

    I’m looking forward to our 1st World Championship since ’83. In this climate … Why the hell not?

    So Rich, regarding the new / temporary rules …

    1. What is the penalty for spitting?
    2. Are there marks on the field to aid the 6 foot social distancing while arguing with the umpires rule?
    3. Was there previously no rule against fighting?

    Just retired to the great state of Texas … wondering how much MLB.TV is asking for a 60 game slate of the O’s?

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 24, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Ken, I hope you enjoy your time in Texas.

      I’m not sure what the penalty is for spitting, but as for fighting, lots of times teams rush out on the field after a pitch comes too close, mill around, maybe push and shove, and nothing happens.

      We won’t see that in 2020.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    June 24, 2020 at 10:04 am

    I’m sorry but this is silly. No spitting? Half the league has Copenhagen in their mouth, and the other has David seeds. Good luck enforcing that. No fighting? Pretty sure that’s never been allowed per se. So if a pitcher is headhunting and it gets heated, what stops the impending fisticuffs? The umpire gonna shout “don’t come out here, we REALLY mean it this time!” How long are the Houston Astros going to put up with NOT standing up for themselves? This just seems like phony moves meant to make everyone feel better about themselves, like the European soccer players sitting 10 feet apart from each other in the stands, then stepping on the field and slide tackling each other for 90 minutes.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 24, 2020 at 10:09 am

      BanMo …. hopefully my sarcasm wasn’t lost on everyone this morning? I’m with you on the silliness of these rules …

      • Bancells Moustache

        June 24, 2020 at 10:17 am

        Boog, I’m always born anew in your comedic brilliance. Perhaps Angel Hernandez will carry a 6 foot long rod to keep arguing coaches the appropriate distance. Of course, with replay now, the Earl Weaver-style managerial meltdown has pretty much disappeared. It’s good though, the Umpire can avoid getting within 6 feet of the manager and get back to hanging over the shoulder of 2 different catchers within 2 feet of 18 different batters.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          June 24, 2020 at 1:01 pm

          How could I have thought anything got by you? Silly me.

          And you may be on to something with the 6′ rod idea.

    • CalsPals

      June 24, 2020 at 10:32 am

      How’re guys gonna get tagged out w/social distancing, umpires gonna yell at them during a run down…lol…wouldn’t be a bad time to play your youngens, BUT the dreaded clock starts ticking, oh well… go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        June 24, 2020 at 12:58 pm

        Perhaps the league should make use of the old Wiffleball “Ghost Runner” rule?

        • Bancells Moustache

          June 24, 2020 at 1:26 pm

          Pitchers poison?

    • CalsPals

      June 24, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      LMAO…awesome, call your field?… go O’s…

    • BirdsCaps

      June 25, 2020 at 12:54 am

      The effect of rules doesn’t matter. The league signals how seriously they are taking the virus and covers their rear a little politically and in regards to legal guidelines/liability.

  7. WorldlyView

    June 24, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Are there any guidelines/rules for players wearing masks on the field or in the dugout? An asymptomatic player could start a very unfortunate chain reaction.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 24, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      Professor Cohen, non-players in the dugout and bullpen will wear masks. Players will be tested every other day and have temperature and symptom screenings daily.

  8. Dantor

    June 24, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Rich, haven’t seen anything about minor league play. Is that off the table? Just glad to have baseball back, even for a short season.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 24, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Highly unlikely that there will be minor league games, Dantor.

  9. BirdsCaps

    June 25, 2020 at 12:45 am

    I know that there are rule changes to deal with the strangeness of the season, but it seems likely they are just all the things Manfred wanted. The dh rule is irritating, but with constant interleague play, it makes sense to an extent. However, one could make the same argument for having a full dh for the World Series, since it is so meaningful. With less travel, the extra inning rule is a little hard to justify. One could argue that a tired team has a huge impact on a minuscule season. However using that logic you could start the new rule for the play in game for the wild card. I hate this rule so much that I leave games in ironbirds games after the 9th. Call me crazy, but these rule changes, especially the extra inning one seems like Manfred getting to test his ideas at the majors without having to deal with the backlash, since we are all just dying for sports, especially baseball (and for me hockey). Call me A mid-20s Curmudgeon, but I hate commish manchilds ideas. Loving strategy and marathon games (remember the gem thaT Crush closed out?), or the late nights and extras at the ballpark with you family? If this continues these love quirks of the old ballgame will be “gone forever, over a long time ago” (now I’ve gone full curmudgeon and am quoting steely dan lyrics, thanks Manfred!)

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