A shortened MLB season is a band-aid to cover existing wounds with the added potential for skewed results. But there are roads less traveled to explore.
If and when MLB decides to end the charade by lowering the boom on its players with an imposed schedule, as is their prerogative, it will be a mistake to do so.
As explained in a column earlier today, the law of averages strongly suggests team and individual results will be skewed, and therefore tainted as meaningless and harmful to the game of baseball.
In place of a shortened season, however, several alternatives can be a source of entertainment for fans, as well as a connection to well-deserved earnings for players and owners.
MLB: First, Think Outside The Box
The following are a few ideas that can put players to work in unusual, but fun and entertaining settings. A format for the postseason is saved for last, and it is assumed that rosters will be expanded to 34 or 35 players to employ as many players as possible.
- Traveling All-Star Teams: Currently, rostered players from all 30 teams will be charged to select 140 players that will form four All-Star Teams, each composed of 35 players. (TBD)
They must select 72 pitchers and 68 position players. The Commissioner will select four Team Captains to “draft” their team and televised by ESPN, in a pre-arranged order from the pool of players until the pool is exhausted and a full roster of 35 players if formed for the four teams. (TBD)
A schedule will then be set up covering three weeks (TBD) in which the four teams will compete against each other, with all games televised by major networks in prime time.
But to offset extended travel and expense, games will be played on neutral sites. Suggested venues are the domes stadiums in Houston and the brand new construction in Dallas.
Each player on the “winning team” at the end receives a bonus of X dollars.
- Minor League Teams Versus MLB Team Each of the thirty major league teams are struggling with the strong chance there will not be a 2020 minor league season. They also don’t know what to do with their recent draft selections.
An option is to have each team select 35 players from the team’s minor league system that form a team to compete mostly against themselves, but also with their parent club, as well as nearby major league teams.
MLB teams can’t afford to waste a full year of development for players on the rise in the minors. Zoom is not the same as seeing in person a player in on the field action.
This will follow the traveling All-Star “season,” and it’s meant to be more localized with a predominance of games played in respective team’s home ballpark.
MLB can give local RNN and team-owned networks preference, but nationally televised events can be scheduled as well.
MLB: A Re-Formatted Postseason
As an alternative to the oncoming 50-game shortened season to crown playoff qualifiers, I’m proposing not one, but two double-elimination tournaments to end the 2020 season.
Seeding can be based on the final 2019 standings ranking all thirty teams. (View Listing Here).
Two losses in a phase and your team are out. I need an actuary to figure out a schedule after the first round, but that’s why they make big money at MLB.
The winners of each tournament would them compete in the 2020 version of a World Series, but without the crowning of a “champion.”
If the same team wins both rounds, the team with the second-best record from both rounds qualifies as the opposing team. In the event of a tie, let them figure it out.
Summarizing, Caveats, And Criticism
The 2020 MLB season is all but doomed in the wake of hostilities generated by both owners and players during the so-called “negotiations” process we have witnessed over the last two months.
Fans are outraged by the behavior on both sides. Baseball needs a respite from not only from the wrath of the coronavirus but also from the ire we see drawn between players and owners.
A “Non-Season,” containing all the elements of the competitive spirit that drives major league ballplayers, together with the likelihood local and national television networks will climb aboard, recognizing the novelties granting them ad revenues sorely needed.
“Fake baseball” in the form of a shortened season is not the answer.
The city of Minneapolis can completely re-organize its police department in a matter of weeks during nationwide upheaval and turmoil.
Surely then the best minds between MLB and the MLBPA should be able to re-organize the 2020 baseball season.
Tradition is ingrained in MLB. But given the extraordinary challenges we face both medically and culturally, both sides need to find a way to re-establish baseball as our National Pastime – now!