Earlier this week the MLB team owners approved a plan to start the 2020 season in early July with all the games being played in the team’s home stadiums with no fans. While many sports-starved fans are waiting for their favorite teams to return to action, some fans could be skeptical about the season starting too soon during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this plan, there are going to be some major changes to the season, including a shorter season and a universal designated hitter rule. While we wait for the MLB players’ union to discuss and potentially vote on this plan, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this plan.
I think we would all love to have baseball back in the summer, but let’s break down the six changes proposed in the plan to start the 2020 season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
1. An 82-game season
This is a good idea considering the season would start at the halfway point of the regulare season. If MLB decided to start a full 162-game season in July, the season would not end until January and we would have baseball in Christmas. Although some fans would love to see a full season, I don’t think any players would want to play in the snow in December.
2. The use of home stadiums in areas that have local and state government approval
This would be good for some cities that don’t have many confirmed cases of COVID-19, but what about some cities that have many cases like Philadelphia and New York? Also the teams need local and state government approval, so what if the teams don’t get that?
Those teams could end up sharing a stadium with another team or play in a spring training stadium, which was previously considered to start the season. I think it would be a good idea to have some teams play in their home stadiums while other teams play in spring training stadiums. After all, no fans would be able to attend any of those games during the pandemic so the atmosphere wouldn’t be any different.
3. Spring training 2.0 beginning in June
What’s the point of having another spring training season? I’m sure some players were practicing their baseball skills while the season was shutdown.
The players and fans are anxious to have games starting to count in the standings. If they do want to have a spring training, don’t make it a whole month. I would prefer that this lasts one or two weeks. What they could do, instead of playing games in spring training, is use the time to practice and get ready for opening day.
4. A universal designated hitter
This would make National League teams very happy with the pitchers no longer having to go up to the batter’s box. I know some National League team fans have been waiting for this to happen and it has been a hot topic in major league baseball for several years.
5. Geographical schedules
This means all teams would only be playing in their respective time zones, like AL East vs NL east, central vs central, and west vs west. Examples would include New York Yankees vs New York Mets, Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers vs Los Angeles Angels.
One benefit of this would be no cross-country road trips like teams from the west heading to teams in the east and the other way around; at least until the postseason.
6. 14 playoff teams instead of 10
So technically there would be two wild card games in each conference instead of one. However, some fans don’t like the wild card rounds, especially fans of the losing team, because they play 182 games and then have their season come down to just one game.
Now with potentially two wild card rounds, what they should do is have the first round just one game and have the second round a best of three or five. Also with the season being cut in half, they should have every round a best-of-seven series, even if the postseason ends around Thanksgiving.
It will be interesting to see how the players’ union responds to this plan and how they can help refine it. What do you think of this new idea? When will baseball return? Will these adjustments change the MLB forever? Let us know in the comments below, or chat with us on Instagram (@thebullpen_) or Twitter (@TheBullpen12).
Photo Credit to Gail Burton/Associated Press
Contributor for TheBullpen. 2016 graduate from Lock Haven University with Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a focus in journalism. Sports enthusiast waiting for sports to come back after COVID-19 pandemic.