MLB’s new plan for the 2020 season hands a stick of dynamite into a waylaid season. It’s complicated, but the idea is made for fans…
The suits at MLB are working overtime to come up with a plan to salvage the 2020 baseball season. Several ideas are being floated, and many are receiving serious consideration.
The wilder the plan is, the more attention it seems to harness. The latest and greatest idea comes from a mole at MLB and is outlined in the New York Daily News, tagged as the Florida-Arizona plan.
MLB has neither confirmed nor denied the report, which given the way these things tend to work, gives credence to the plan having traction within MLB.
Essentially, the Florida-Arizona plan is a take-off on previous ideas to resurrect the season when it is deemed safe enough to do so.
Games will be played with no fans in the stands. The main thrust is to have live baseball on television and radio. Seven inning games and doubleheaders are still in play, as is the robot umpire behind home plate.
MLB Plan X – This One Has Legs
But here’s the kicker on this one.
There will be two divisions that are based on where a team conducts its Spring Training – Florida or Arizona.
Known as the Grapefruit League, the following teams would comprise the Florida Division and play exclusively against each other.
Count ’em up, and they total fifteen teams. But look at the matchups that will regularly appear on the MLB regular season daily schedule between the top teams in baseball – plus the games between teams having natural and ongoing rivalries – and wow!
Imagine the interest generated when on any given day, the Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Nationals, Phillies, Astros, and Twins will be pitted in matchups, typically not seen but for a couple of interleague games – if that – during a regular season.
Here’s your Cactus League lineup setting up in Arizona:
Now, here we see significant weakness in the plan. Minus the Los Angeles Dodgers, where’s the beef? These are mediocre to weak teams.
Lacking the drama seen in the Grapefruit League matchups, the saving grace for fans might be the rivalries that exist back home. The Giants/A’s, Dodgers/Angels, Cubs/White Sox are examples, but that’s still stretching it.
In any event, there will be baseball and games will be played in mutually exclusive time zones, a major attraction for TV networks, and a portion of baseball fans.
A full slate of games can begin at 7:05 EST, televised regionally, or nationally, followed by another lineup of games scheduled to start at 7:05 PST in Arizona.
Night games only in the desert are a must, and that works out perfectly for night owls on the East Coast, ready to watch baseball at 10:00 pm EST.
MLB – What To Do About The Playoffs
The Postseason – here’s where it gets complicated and controversial.
One idea being floated is to arrange a round-robin tournament akin to the NCAA’s March Madness extravaganza in which all thirty teams “qualify.” Still, top-seeded teams (i.e., division winners) receive accommodation.
Television networks will jump all over that one, but baseball purists will just as assuredly rise in arms at the prospect of the Baltimore Orioles, for instance, “making” the playoffs based on what is expected to be a repeat of their 2019 performance.
First things first, though, and the primary focus has to be on getting the season underway when the time is right with a schedule that best ensures the safety and health of everyone in the ballpark – when the umpire declares – “Play Ball.”
There’s time to figure it out.
MLB – Where’s My Bone?
It’s widely apparent that any resumption of the 2020 season is only about team owners recouping a portion of the revenue they’ve lost to date. TV contracts are all they have at their disposal to generate something in the accounts receivable box on their desk.
Therefore, when I go online to enroll in a typical satellite MLB Extra Innings package, priced initially at the cost of a car payment, I expect to see MLB saying “Thank You” to a fan of baseball for more than a half-century.
Would MLB be so bold as to offer its product for nothing?
As a way of saying to America – your National Pastime is back, and after all the trials and despair we’ve been through as a nation – we want to share it with you.
Enjoy – and we’ll see you in October with something extra special.
Sorry, you caught me dreaming.