The fate of the 2020 season lies in the hands of MLB’s players and owners, while we fans are forced to sit on the sidelines, hoping they come to some sort of agreement on secure-enough safety protocols and fair-enough financial concessions.
But if and when they come together to put a product on the field, it’s sure to look different than any other season in the history of baseball. For example, we’re already expecting to see (1) a designated hitter in both leagues, (2) about half the total number of games to which we’ve grown accustom (if we’re lucky), and (3) a schedule based on geographic feasibility, not necessarily league designation. And as for the playoffs, who knows? Truly everything is up for debate this season.
And Bryce Harper is taking that opportunity to propose some one-year changes of his own. In a recent Instagram post, he came up with some regular season and playoff format changes that could make the game look very different in 2020.
What do you think?
Beyond the health and safety which comes first for all players, staff, workers, fans, and families. ⠀
Just an idea I have been thinking about. ⠀
East/West like NBA. ⠀
July 31 days⠀
August 31 days ⠀
September 30 days ⠀
October 31 days ⠀
November 15 days ⠀
135 games. ⠀
Off day every 2 weeks on a Monday and Sunday double header 7 innings. ⠀
30 players. 6 man rotation. Save arms. IF pitchers wanted this. If not no big deal. DH and any other ideas possible.⠀
2 week World Series. Like Super bowl week. ⠀
10 teams round robin format College World Series kinda style at the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium/ stadiums are best. 3 game series. You win the series you move on. You lose you play the other loser in a 1 game wildcard. Winner of that moves on. Other team is out. ⠀
Or you could play it in Vegas so you have the Strip Hotels and could use one hotel for all the guys and contain possibly? ⠀
2 teams left 7 game World Series. They get 2 days off before the series. With those 2 days off you do a All Star Game and homerun derby. Could do the MLB awards as well at that time. ⠀
Open this up on all platforms. No blackouts. Open it for everybody to watch. ⠀
Then you back up season the next 2 years. May 1st 2021. April 1st 2022. Maybe I’m crazy. Just fun to think about and throw around ideas🤪
Basically, Harper wants to push the season into the winter to sneak more games (135 to be exact) into the schedule, while utilizing warmer weather stadiums to account for the climate later in the year. Beyond that, he wants to create two main conferences like the NBA (we can still call them leagues) creating an entirely different postseason entry and playoff structure, which could also help de-regionalize the sport, and make more games a bit more appealing nationally. So would playoff games at neutral sites.
He also wants to tuck the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby into the playoff calendar just before the World Series (though I’d bet no one on a World Series team would risk throwing their slugger into that event, given the physical toll), but that could make both events much more popular, as more attention would be on the sport all at once.
The 7-inning double-header Sundays would be a blast (but could also be a nightmare if those games were rained out). And I worry about trying to compete with the NBA *and* NFL for eyeballs in November and beyond, but the round robin playoff format could make the postseason so much more interesting to follow from start to finish (for the casual fan).
NOTE: To accommodate the late-year playoff calendar, Harper suggests moving the 2021 Opening Day back about a month, before returning to early April in 2022.
But the most important idea he proposes: No blackouts. Baseball *must* accommodate every single person who wants to watch the sport this season, no matter the cost. It’s for the best.
So what do you think?
Ultimately, the proposal isn’t perfect, but there’s also plenty of good ideas baked in. And while I don’t think we’ll actually see much of this implemented in 2020, I will say it would be a shame to waste such a rare opportunity to experiment. There are potential alternatives that could help reignite the sport and we should be open to any one of them.
I think I’m most tickled by a potentially new playoff format, but what about you? What’s one thing from his plan you’d consider implementing and one thing you’d absolutely veto?