A different kind of ballgame: MLB 2020 season preview

Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts
(Robert Carter / For The Times)

After a nearly four-month delay, baseball is back.

The 60-game 2020 MLB season promises to be one of the most unusual in the sport’s storied history — empty ballparks, piped-in crowd noise and a slew of new rules and regulations designed to mitigate coronavirus infection among players, coaches and umpires.

Amid this somewhat surreal backdrop are the Dodgers and Angels, teams that made bold offseason moves in an effort to strengthen their World Series title chances.

With the season set to start Thursday, be sure to check out The Times’ season preview below.

Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, and Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon of the Angels head a sparkling cast of local mega-stars when baseball resumes.

The legitimacy of the MLB season will depend on players staying on the field. If they do, the World Series champion will have overcome unique obstacles, Dylan Hernández writes.

A look at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening day team roster for the 2020 MLB season.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon led the Washington Nationals to the 2019 World Series title with an even-keeled approach that is a welcome addition to the Angels.

Dodgers superstar outfielder Mookie Betts grew up and still lives in Tennessee, yet his immediate goal is to win a World Series for his new big-city team.

The Dodgers are heavy favorites to win their eighth consecutive National League West Division title in large part because the competition is ho-hum.

Expected to be shunned by fellow players and taunted by fans in visiting parks this season, the Houston Astros will be shielded by health and safety precautions.

Get used to a designated hitter in the National League, runners starting at second base during extra innings, and the extinction of relief pitching specialists.

Remember the version of Shohei Ohtani that blistered baseballs and launched them over the fences of Angel Stadium? You should be seeing him again soon.

The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock, now in camp, opens up about his battle with the coronavirus and the premature birth of his daughter, Maddi, in March.

Most of the Southland will finally be able to watch Dodgers games on Spectrum SportsNet LA. What fans will see are the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dodgers are charging either $149 or $299 for the season, depending on location, with proceeds going to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

Clubhouse attendant Francisco Herrera, known as Chico, plays left field during the Dodgers’ intrasquad games. And his teammates love it.