One thing we know about this virus is that there’s little concrete idea how long our world will be on hold and/or lockdown. Some are guessing life will resume, slightly-altered, in a few months. Others are estimating 6. Then there are the extreme measures that are guessing social distancing will be worldwide for 18 months. One thing is for certain and if baseball is played there will be an MLB Shortened Season.
My personal opinion is that baseball doesn’t resume in 2020, but that will not stop me from creating what I think would be 3 months worth of a remarkable MLB shortened season that would begin in August in what would be a 1/3 year, or a 54 game season.
MLB Shortened Season: Adjustments to Roster Size
26-Man rosters will be the norm going forward after 2020, but with starting pitchers being short on time to stretch out, rosters for 2020 will start and end with 28 players on the team: 13 position players, 15 pitchers.
MLB Shortened Season: Divisions be Damned
For this 54 game season, we are doing away with divisions. The sample is already so small that it mitigates any reason to crown division winners. Sorry, Miami Marlins fans….this won’t be your year. More on this when we get to playoffs.
No Interleague Play
If we’re doing away with division crowns, we might as well award the 1 team that stands atop each league at the end of play. With that thought in mind, for this 1 year, teams will go back to playing teams only in their league with less focus on playing within their division, rather playing everyone in their own league 3-4 times.
MLB Shortened Season Structure
- MLB teams will have a redo on Spring Training in the month of July with the first week being strength and conditioning, and the last 3 weeks of live games.
- I’m still pondering the idea of location as it wouldn’t be ideal to have these games take place at Spring Training complexes, considering the heat. I’m leaning toward the stadiums with retractable roofs or domes. Game structuring could be difficult…this is the least thought through part of my plan.
- Opening Day, August 1st. Each team will play 28 games in the month.
- Each team will receive 2 off days during play for the month.
- All games on the 29th would be day games to allow for All-Star game travel.
- A remarkably small sample size will make the All-Star Game of 2020 pretty dadgum awesome, which would take place on 1 day, August 30th, a full on extravaganza with HR derby followed by the game.
- August 31st: Off day….but Trade Day! Teams will have 1 day and 1 day only to make trades to better their team. A free for all for 24 hours!
- September 1st: 2nd half baseball is on. 29 days to play 27 games. 2 off days per team for the month of September.
- September 30-October 1st: Games that could change standings that were rained out will be played during these days.
- When game number 55 is played for all 30 teams, each league will have a league winner. This winner will receive a bye for the first round of playoffs.
- October 2nd, The Bracket. This is where it gets funky. With the top team in each league receiving a bye, the 28 teams will be ordered from top to bottom based on win %. However, since the sample is so small, the number 2 seed for each league will get to choose their opponent for the first round, and process will continue down to 3, 4, 5, and 6 choosing their opponent.
- October 4th, games begin. The 1st round, 5-game series across 7 days with 14 series going on each day across both leagues. Think March Madness, baby!
- October 11th, The 2nd round begins, a 5-game series across a week with 8 series going on. Again, March Madness.
- October 18th, The 3rd round will be a 5-game series across a week with 4 series going on.
- October 28th, The 4th round will be a 7-game series across a week and a half with 2 series going on.
- November 9th, The 5th round…World Series, BABY!
Thanks for reading on our MLB Shortened Season Idea. If you enjoyed this piece, maybe you’d like to see our piece on Austin Riley and Johan Camargo.