There have been talks and ideas thrown out over the last couple months on how we can restart the season. The newest proposal has been submitted by Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball to the teams, and it looks like the teams have agreed to those terms. The biggest hurdle will be having the players agree to the terms set by Major League Baseball and the team owners.
As of right now, if the plan were approved, we would see a shortened Spring Training starting in the middle of June. After that, we would see the season starting right around the 4th of July, with an 82-game season, which would be the shortest season in over 100 years!
An additional 4 teams added to the playoffs, from 10 teams to 14 teams. With this format there would be two additional wild card teams in each league, and the team in each league with the best record would earn a first-round bye.
Games would be played in home stadiums, amongst divisional teams, and teams in similar geographical regions. If the season starts in July, there will still be no fan presence in the stadiums.
The DH will be utilized in both the American League and the National League, and lastly rosters will be able to expand as needed for player safety. There are a lot of stipulations for getting the season underway, so I will break it down a little further starting with the last stipulation.
Player safety seems to be one of the biggest obstacles (other than pay) for the MLB to get the players to agree to come back. There have been talks about having enough tests to continually test the players, as long as it is not affecting the public supply of tests.
Having the rosters able to expand for players safety, is not necessarily helping the players, but helping the teams. In a recent statement, Jeff Passan talked about some player safety ideas pitched by the MLB that players “won’t be able to take Ubers and can’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder for the national anthem and, gulp, will be discouraged from postgame showers.” These are a few of the odd ideas proposed by the MLB, as well as not being allowed to spit, chew tobacco, or eat sunflower seeds. I understand that the MLB is trying to make player safety important, but some of the ideas seem unnecessary. Lastly, there will be no fan presence in the stadium, as part of the stands will be used for the players to social distance, rather than sitting in the dugout.
An 82-game season, the shortest season in over 100 years, will definitely be an odd sight. How will we fill those 82 games? Who will your favorite team be playing? Well, according to the MLB, teams will play against their division and the other teams in the same geographical region. If you are a Los Angeles Angels fan, you will see your team playing against the rest of the AL West, and most likely the NL West, but that is it. This will be odd to watch, as you will not play against any teams outside of your geographical region until the playoffs.
Speaking of playoffs, there will be four more teams added to the playoffs for this season. This will expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 14 teams, by adding two more wild card teams from each league. Personally, I am a fan of adding more teams to the playoffs because playoff games are always so much different to watch than a regular season game.
The playoffs are electric, fun, and full of pressure on every pitch. In the Wild Card round, the team with the best record in each league will have a bye. After that, the remaining division winners and the wild card team with the best record would host all three games of the Wild Card round. The division winners get to pick which wild card team they will play against. Lastly, the three series winners in each league, will then join the team that had a bye in the divisional round. The divisional round and the rest of the playoffs will be the same as in the past.
One of the biggest changes proposed in this season is the use of the DH in both the American and National League. This will probably be one of the most contentious changes to fans, as many fans will love this change, while the baseball purists will dislike it. Let us be honest though, does anybody really enjoy watching a pitcher hit now? Maybe 70 years ago when pitchers used to practice hitting it was a different story, but aside from a select few pitchers currently, most pitchers are automatic outs.
Even the better hitting pitchers like Madison Bumgarner (.177 batting average) are still easy outs in the lineup. It will be a nice change of pace to no longer have the automatic out in the lineup. Yes, there is the argument about strategy in the National League, with double switches and more pinch hitters, but this should also help speed up the game.
Personally, I am itching for baseball to return because I miss watching my team play. I understand that it will look different with no fans in the stands, but that is okay with me, as it will be nice to have no fan interference for a change. As long as the players, staff, and everybody involved can remain safe, I look forward to the start of the season. Hopefully, that will be a July 4th start to kick off America’s pastime on America’s holiday!
Photo Credit: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
I am a former college baseball player that has a constant love for the game. After I had injuries that left me unable to play anymore I have always wanted to stay in the game. Now I will be able to stay in the game by writing about the sport that I love.