By now, people are looking forward to the beginning of the 2020 baseball season.
People have bought tickets and some fans have even gone so far to book out of town trips to follow their teams on the road.
Most teams have missed about 10 percent of the scheduled games thus far due to the COVID-19 virus suspending the season indefinitely.
Recently, there have been articles suggesting different ways in which Major League Baseball should handle the season.
There have been a wide variety of suggestions. Everything from a 100-game season to…hold your breath…a 166-game season starting in June.
Baseball super-agent Scott Boras told the Los Angeles Times:
“Under the Boras plan, wild-card games would be played Dec. 3, the division series would be Dec. 5-9, the league championship series Dec. 11-17 and the World Series on Dec. 19-26.”
There would be no days off in postseason series, and games would be played in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Milwaukee, Toronto, Houston, St. Petersburg, Fla. and Arlington, Texas.
Could you imagine a Christmas-time World Series? No way.
Might I suggest something more realistic? How about a split season?
This is something that the Southern League (AA baseball) has done for many years. They had a total of a 140-game schedule, with 70 games in each half. The AA All-Star Game separated the halves.
My proposal would have the wrinkle of a 115-game schedule.
How would I come up with a 115-game schedule?
I propose three parts. I would have the first 50 games span from May 15 to July 12. This is a span of 58 days. This leaves enough time for travel. During this portion of the schedule, there will be no interleague play. There will be one team in each league that will not have a game during this period. This will leave room for make-up games or time off.
The division winners will earn five points towards a post-season playoff berth. The runner ups will earn two points towards a post-season playoff berth.
The second period will be a 15-game, interleague schedule, starting on July 13 and ending August 2. It is a span of 20 days. The period between July 21 and 23 will be the designated three-day All-Star Break.
Each league has 15 teams in them, with five teams in each division. I would propose this season to have an interleague “crossover” two-week period, in which the East, Central and West Division teams play their respectively. There will be three four-game series and one three-game series.
The All-Star Game winner would receive the home-field advantage in the World Series.
The division winners after the interleague wave will receive five points towards a post-season playoff berth. The division runner up will receive two points.
The third wave would have a 50-game schedule, that would span from August 4 to September 30. This is a span of 57 days. This leaves enough time for travel. During this portion of the schedule, there will be no interleague play. There will be one team in each league that will not have a game during this period. This will leave room for make-up games or time off.
The division winners will earn five points toward a post-season playoff berth. The runner ups will earn two points towards a post-season playoff berth. Points are elevated in the third phase with the changing of season and push for the playoffs.
A team could earn a maximum of 15 points in a separate race for a playoff spot. Five teams would qualify for the playoffs. The top three point-earners would get the top three seeds. In the case of a tie, those teams would play in a one-game playoff on Oct. 1.
The four and five-seeds would play each other in a three-game playoff series on Oct. 3-6.
The ALDS and NLDS series would be best-of-five playoff series from Oct. 8-16. The ALCS and NCLS series would be a best-of-seven series from Oct. 19-Oct. 30. The World Series would be a best-of-seven series from Nov. 3-13.
If a five-seed team were to play the maximum number of games and require a “play-in” game to get into the playoffs, a team could play as many as 138 games over the course of 182 days from May 15 to Nov. 13.
Some teams in a conventional 162-game schedule can play as many as 185 games if all playoff series that they play in are maxed out. It is easily over 210 games with Spring Training. So, a maximum of 138 games is not a terrible thing.
Everyone will have their theories and ideas about how MLB will conduct this upcoming season. Perhaps, with some understanding, and a little fun, this is an idea worth thinking about.
The UIL holds out hope
The Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced last week that they are further modifying contingency plans and extending its previously announced timeline for completing UIL activities this academic school year.
The modifications are based on schools resuming operations on Monday, May 4.
While gathering new data, the UIL will monitor all available information and provide member schools with more specific guidance on district and post-season date adjustments related to this new extension.
What this means is that while there is still hope that there may be light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel when it comes to athletics and academics, it does not mean that all of the sports that have been affected by the stoppage. So it is extremely important to look into the reality that there still a chance that we may not see action in the near future.
However, hope is the best medicine in this day and age where a cure may be close to resolving this deadly virus.