The COVID-19 global pandemic has already whittled the 2020 MLB regular season down to 60 games, forced the postponement of several games because of case clusters on multiple teams, and caused the games that do happen to be played in mostly empty venues. That the season has progressed this far is a bit of a victory for MLB and the players, but things are far from returning to normal.
Speaking of elusive normality, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic passes along this comment from an MLB spokesperson on the possibility that fans will return to the ballparks anytime soon:
"Given the state of the virus throughout the country and that most of our clubs do not have authorization from their local jurisdictions allowing for it, we are not able to consider hosting fans at this time."
As Rosenthal also notes, commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the matter with owners on his weekly call, and according to Rosenthal's sources the Rangers and Rockies have been pushing to allow some fans to their home games.
Teams are foregoing significant revenues -- i.e., sales of tickets, parking, concessions, and in-stadium merchandise -- by not having fans in the ballpark. Given the general nationwide increase in infection levels since June, MLB doesn't appear poised to reconsider its prohibition against fans in attendance. Individual teams, though, will be more responsive to local guidelines and infection levels in their efforts to make as much money as possible from the 2020 season, which means potential conflict. For now, though, MLB isn't yielding on the current protocols. With the scheduled start of the postseason less than six weeks away, it's possible there's not enough time for things to meaningfully change on that front.