What’s the least amount of baseball that would be worth playing before the powers that be simply cancel the entire season? Here’s a proposal for a Micro-Season.
(Disclaimer: this is not a prediction that a micro-season is the most likely scenario.)
Micro-Season: Everybody into the pool
At the amateur level, pool play is used to handle large numbers of teams over a 2 or 3 day period. Teams are put into “pools” and play the other teams in their pool in a fixed schedule, then are seeded into a tournament based on the results. (We would call this tournament: “playoffs.”) My proposal would be to use pool play to have a 30 – 40 game “regular” season, followed by playoffs and a “World Series.”
The first problem is how to define the pools?
1. it could be totally randomized regardless of league or division
2. it could be organized geographically
3. we could just use the existing divisions
4. your idea here_________
The simplest thing to do is just use the existing divisions, but there’s a complication. There are 5 teams in each of the 6 divisions, so if we are only playing teams in our pool, then there is an odd team out at all times. We don’t by definition have time for a lot of off days. One solution: eliminate a division. (Sorry AL Central.) By randomly distributing the 3 AL Central teams in the Central time zone to the AL West, NL West, and NL Central, and the 2 AL Central teams in the Eastern time zone to the AL East and the NL East, we now have 5 pools of 6 teams each.
Now I propose that each team play the other 5 teams in their pool in home and away 3 game sets. That gives each team a regular season of 30 games. If there were time, 4 game sets home and away would give us 40 games, but 30 is the minimum I see plausible for an actual regular season to happen.
Micro Season: Month to be determined Madness
Conceding that I have just hand-waved away an entire Major League division, the playoffs are where it really gets complicated. How do we make the “regular season” mean something, while still recognizing the unfairness of eliminating teams after 30 games? 30 teams is a terrible number for a tournament, but here goes.
Trying to maintain League integrity is impractical at this point. All 30 teams are seeded after the regular season based on record, and undoubtedly a number of tiebreakers, which could include record on the road, runs allowed, runs scored – all the way down to coin-tosses if necessary. There will then be a 16 team tournament with 4 rounds – all best of 7, for fairness and money. If starting late enough, the playoffs could be held at neutral domes or warm weather sites.
In my proposal, the top 2 teams in each pool are automatically in the final 16. That gives us 10 teams. The last 6 spots will be filled by one-game March Madness style death matches among the remaining 20 teams. I propose that the bottom 16 teams play 8 games over 2 days, let’s say 4 on Thursday and 4 on Friday. The 8 winners from Thursday and Friday join teams 11 – 14 to give us 12 teams, meaning 6 more one-game matches, 3 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. The 6 winners then join the final 10. Now we have our 16 teams.
What do you think? What complications am I overlooking? Would this be worth doing, or would you cancel the season?
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