While we know that there are many more important things on the minds of everyone than baseball, some of us still wonder what the MLB season will look like if there is one. The MLBPA and MLB have agreed on some terms when it comes to an altered 2020 season.
While nothing is set in stone, we will look at the proposal and throw out some possible scenarios and what we like and don’t like about the proposal.
The players will get paid, as $170 million will be distributed over the first two months of what would have been the season. Even if the season is not played, the players will not have to return the money.
The union has agreed to not challenge the rest of the money on their salaries if a season is not played due to the coronavirus.
Mid-May is the earliest we could see baseball, and that is highly unlikely at this point. With the social distancing requirement being pushed back to April 30, the earliest Spring Training could possibly resume is May 1, and that is highly unlikely.
Players will need more than two weeks to prepare themselves for games that count. Service time would also accumulate at the rate at which you earned in 2019.
This is great for veterans, but if you haven’t made your big league debut, this will really hurt your chances at the full pension if the season is not played.
Let’s look at this from a practical standpoint and find some scenarios. I am thinking that the most optimistic person in the world is saying June 1 for the earliest we could see live games. With that date, 162 games seem highly unlikely, but not out of the question.
If you started the season then and played seven-inning doubleheaders on Sundays, it would be possible.
This is strictly me talking, but here is how I would do it. Thirty days in June, 31 in July, 31 in August, 30 in September and 31 in October. This gives you 153 dates to play.
Obviously, it doesn’t seem like you could get to 162. But if you play a doubleheader every Sunday, this would give you 22 more dates for 174 possible games.
If you took every other Monday off (11 games), this would get you to 163, leaving you with one extra off day for each team. It seems like a tough stretch, but if you add a roster spot to each team to cover the weekly doubleheader, it could be done.
The extra roster spot also works as follows to help even more. It is a starting pitcher on Sundays only. The other days of the week, it can be a reliever or position player to help offset the rigorous schedule.
Now, the tough spot is the playoffs. You will be starting in November, so you would almost have to find neutral sites with domes or warm weather to play the playoffs.
National League playoff sites in my proposal would be Milwaukee (dome), Arizona, Miami, and San Diego. American League playoff sites would be Toronto (dome), Arlington, Houston and Los Angeles.
I have taken Seattle out of the equation because that would only be beneficial for Seattle, and you have to play at a neutral site unless both teams are warm weather or domed teams.
I say six teams from each league make the playoffs starting on Nov. 3 and 4. The two best records in the AL and NL get byes, and the third seed plays the sixth seed while the fourth seed takes on the fifth seed in a best-of-three-game scenario.
This would be exactly like the current NFL playoff format except with series instead of winner-take-all contests. The top seed would then play the lowest remaining seed in a best-of-five format.
The World Series and League Championship series will both be played as traditional seven-game series.
So, let’s say the two favorites make the World Series in New York and Los Angeles. It would be over approximately the third week in December with the Dodgers having to play their home games in San Diego and New York at the Rogers Centre in Toronto since it is the closest domed stadium to New York City.
You could also play the whole seven-game series at a neutral site and avoid travel, but I think putting games close enough to home, but not having a distinct home-field advantage is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
I know I might have too much time on my hands, but go ahead and start the debate. I’m just ready for some real baseball!
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