According to a report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, Major League Baseball is considering a radical change to the 2020 MLB Season. Of course, any radical discussions come in view of the current Cornavirus Pandemic, and concerns over when fans might be able to see any live baseball.
According to Nightengale, his source prefers to remain anonymous at this time because Major League Baseball is considering a number of proposals. This one proposal is quite radical and would involve eliminating the American and National Leagues for the 2020 season. Let that sink in for a moment.
The more minute details of the plan involves all 30 MLB teams returning to their respective training sites in both Arizona and Florida. Teams would play the 2020 regular season games in those two states alone. Due to concerns over the Coronavirus, fans would not be allowed to attend any games.
Further, geography would determine their Spring Training homes. Teams would be allowed to return to their respective spring homes to train for just less than a month before opening the 2020 season. Teams would then play different divisional opponents than usual. Nightgale phrased this plan as imagining the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, or the LA Dodgers and Cleveland Indians being division rivals in this radical format.
Nightengale gave one example of a potential realignment scenario:
- NORTH: New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates.
- SOUTH: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles.
- EAST: Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins.
- NORTHEAST: Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics.
- WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels.
- NORTHWEST: Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals.
Nightengale points out that this would be huge for TV rights holders, but imagine how big this could be for the fans. Imagine getting to watch baseball early in the day as well as later in the evening?
Under such a format, you could have divisional champions, wild-card rounds, or Major League Baseball could implement a tournament bracket with all 30 teams playing. That last idea is radical indeed, but it certainly would be fun.
In the end of any such scenario, the Cactus League Champ playing the Grapefruit League Champ would be a sight to see. Because the season would likely go into November or later at this point, the "World Series" could be played in any number of stadium that have a roof.
It remains to be seen whether restrictions on movement and social interaction, given the progression of the Covid-19 virus, will ultimately allow any baseball at all in 2020. It's hard to remain optimistic at this point, but fans are itching to see some baseball with every passing day.