HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch against the Houston Astros during the second inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball has finally put forth its planned 60-game schedule for the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season.

The planned 60-game schedule for the upcoming 2020 MLB season was announced Monday night by commissioner Rob Manfred.

Per the schedule, which was announced on MLB Network, the season will open with a pair of night games on July 23. At 7 p.m. ET, the New York Yankees will face the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals on the road. Later in the evening, the San Francisco Giants will take on the rival Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Both games will be broadcasted on ESPN.

The next day features even more action with two additional rivalry games. The Atlanta Braves will face the New York Mets at Citi Field at 4 p.m. ET while the Milwaukee Brewers visit the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field at 7 p.m. ET. Then at eight o’clock, the Texas Rangers will open Globe Life Field against the Colorado Rockies.

That weekend, various teams will play nationally televised games on FOX. Additionally, the St. Louis Cardinals face the Chicago White Sox in Iowa for the planned Field of Dreams Game on Aug. 13.

Of each team’s 60 games, 20 will be interleague matchups. Due to the pandemic, the remaining 40 will be against teams only within their own division. For example, the Yankees will only play teams from the respective eastern divisions of both leagues.

JB’s Take

This doesn’t really apply to baseball but, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. COVID-19 cases may be on the rise and players are opting out in response, but MLB appears committed to playing a short season. Marquee matchups take place Opening Day, as new Yankee Gerrit Cole will surely face Washington’s Max Scherzer.

And it isn’t just Opening Day with the best games. In September, the Houston Astros visit Dodger Stadium. It seems so long ago, but let’s not forget an offseason investigation found Houston stole signs and cheated their way to winning the 2017 World Series over Los Angeles. No fans may be in the stands and health measures mean there will be no fights, although the intensity will be unmatched.

But the question remains: will the season happen? As was just mentioned, players are opting out. David Price of the Dodgers is just one of many. A small number of players are also currently home isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. Testing, in some cases, is either nightmarish or nonexistent.

Those are all valid concerns, but it’s like NBA commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month. Any route taken by sports leagues now is going to include risks. MLB is confident it can have a 2020 season, and this new scheduling concept is the latest effort.

Come July 23, things are certainly going to become interesting.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.