If it all goes well, then Opening Day for Major League Baseball this year will feature Max Scherzer vs. Gerrit Cole in the nation’s capital.
The union signed off Thursday on the details within a 60-game schedule. However, MLB has not finalized the product yet as teams review the variables and the league continues to navigate what it perceives are its best alternatives to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
That is no small matter. In a standard year, the schedule is a Jenga game of park availability, satisfying national TV partners, following collectively bargained rules for how many straight days a team can play, etc. This season, COVID-19 complicates matters as exemplified by Arizona, Florida and Texas transforming from places MLB wanted to play a month ago to places with soaring virus cases now.
MLB does not even have plans to finalize a schedule for a week or two, in part because without fans there is no pressure to have games set so tickets could be bought. Better, the league believes, to take its time, see how the testing of personnel goes this week and the preferences expressed in feedback from clubs.
So the current schedule can change drastically and, if it does, the union will have to provide its blessing again.