Nothing is official yet on the 2020 MLB season, however MLB seems to be doing everything it can to find the best case scenario for players and fans. USA Today Sports reported a new a radical plan that could be used for the 2020 season. The plan would have all 30 teams return to their spring training homes for the season and play games without fans in attendance. The plan would also essentially replace the American and National leagues with the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues for the 2020 season. This would then cause geographical division realignment for one season creating some weird and interesting divisions for a season unlike any other.
How could these new divisions look:
The Cactus League has more flexibility for realignment with the locations being closer together, but these divisions are really interesting to think about and could make for a really intriguing season. Teams could play against their division teams 12 times and against other teams in the state six times. This would make for a 108 game season. There would also probably be one double header per day with there being an odd number of teams in each league. There would also likely be a DH used in both leagues.
Yeah, I’m sure there’d be plenty of arguing about unfair divisions. Yeah, maybe the Brewers and Yankees might have easier divisions, but easier divisions happen in baseball and I’d much rather have that than no baseball at all.
No idea how the playoffs would work, but there could definitely still be division winners and wild card spots and the winners of the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues would meet in the World Series. Personally, I kind of would love to see a Cubs/Cardinals World Series- that would be a perfectly weird thing to happen in such a weird time.
There’s also three major league stadiums that could be used for either playoffs or regular season with Tropicana in Tampa, Marlins Park in Miami and Chase Field in Phoenix and some collegiate fields in the areas. Teams would still need time to get back into training and play some exhibition games to prepare for the season.
There are obvious downsides to this idea, would players have to then be away from families? How would testing for them happen? Other concerns such as the loss of money for teams in the form of corporate sponsorships, tickets, concessions, parking etc. But as with this whole COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t know where we’re going to be in the future so why not think about as many plausible options as possible.
This is just one potential alternative and the MLB is still hopeful that baseball can be played in home cities this season, but that’s not stopping them from looking at all the possibilities. I’m glad the MLB is searching for as many solutions as they can. If fans end up not being allowed to attend games and we can find a solution like this where players are safe and we get one crazy unique season like this, I’m okay with that.