The 117th season of Major League Baseball opens officially in March. But with teams reporting to spring training facilities this week, the unofficial start of baseball season springs forth in February.
The 2020 season for MLB stands as a pivot point for the sport. With player movement, managerial changes and cheating scandals, baseball remained on the airwaves through the winter.
Here’s a look at Major League Baseball’s 2020 Season.
MLB 2020: The Games
Major League Baseball’s Opening Day will occur on March 26th. This is the earliest Opening Day in league history. The season itself will run until September 27th, and then the playoffs will begin on September 29th. The World Series will be contested, as always, in October.
The All-Star game will be played at Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium. The 91st MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for July 14th and it will be in LA for the first time in 40 years. The last time Dodger Stadium hosted the game was 1980. The Dodgers’ franchise has hosted the All-Star Game four times.
Major League Baseball will go international several times in 2020. MLB will be playing its first regular season games in Mexico City at the new Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium in 2020. The two-game series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres will be played on April 18-19, 2020.
The Miami Marlins and New York Mets will play a three-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the legendary Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The games will be played on April 28-30, 2020.
On June 13-14, London Stadium will be transformed into Europe’s largest ballpark as it becomes MLB’s home once again. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs will clash in London.
The ‘Field of Dreams’
One of the most iconic sports movies of all time will come to live this season when the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox play in Iowa.
The game will take place in a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark constructed in the corn on the Dyersville farm site where the classic film was shot.
According to MLB.com, the design of the park, including the shape of the outfield and the bullpens beyond the center-field fence, will pay homage to Comiskey Park, which was home of the White Sox from 1910-90. The right-field wall will include windows to show the cornfields beyond the ballpark, which will overlook the movie set.
This will be the first Major League Baseball game in Iowa since 1875.
MLB 2020: The Rule Changes
Major League Baseball will introduce a handful of rule changes for the 2020 season.
The most notable change is the new three-batter rule. Now, relief pitchers brought into a game must face a minimum of three batters, unless the inning ends or the pitcher is injured. Limiting pitching changes should help speed up the games themselves. However, this rule should force managers to be more judicious with those changes.
MLB also made changes to the roster sizes for their teams. Previously, teams carried 25 players on their active roster. For 2020, active rosters will carry 26 players, with no more than 13 pitchers.
In September, rosters expanded to 40 men, and teams called up young prospects and other minor leaguers. MLB has limited that practice, as now the rosters can only expand to 28 players, with a 14 pitcher maximum.
Finally, for 2020, managers will only have 20 seconds to challenge a play. In 2019, managers had 30 seconds to make that decision.
MLB 2020: New Managers
10 teams have made a managerial change for the 2020 season. Six teams fired their managers, two saw the managers retired, and the others mutually agree to part ways.
The Royals brought in former St Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny for their vacancy, while the Giants hired Gabe Kapler, who had been surprisingly fired by the Philadelphia Phillies. Joe Girardi was hired as manager by Philadelphia.