With each passing day the possibility for baseball this season gets less and less likely to happen. There is no doubt everyone involved wants it to start, but there are key things that just aren't happening to allow it to happen. The biggest issue remains testing and tracing for infections. If they can't find 100 tests for the US Senate, how in the world are they going to test the hundreds of people involved with major league baseball, daily?
I don't want to be Debbie Downer, but we have to be realistic on this, and just get ready for 2021, which is much more likely to happen. Having a year off from baseball also gives the game it's opportunity to make some changes, that many people feel are long overdue to the game. Everyone has an opinion, but I have the only correct answers.
As I outlined the other day, the league has already begun talking about realignment for 2020, if they play, that would mix up current leagues and divisions, and play a reduced schedule as well. (You can read it again here: https://www.chiguysproductions.com/post/baseball-2020-presented-by-covid-19)
Realignment. Dramatic and game changing realignment needs to happen. I am suggesting that MLB moves from two leagues, that have been the cornerstone of the game since nearly the beginning, with the American and the National Leagues, and three divisions in each, to a new structure that eliminates leagues altogether.
I am calling for two new Conferences, The Appalachian and the Continental. Each conference will have fifteen teams broken into three divisions. They will play a 142 game schedule with the focus of games being against your division and conference. More on this in a bit. Here is the breakdown.
Northeast: Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Blue Jays, & Phillies
Mideast: Orioles, Nationals, Indians, Pirates, & Tigers
South: Marlins, Rays, Braves, Reds, & Cardinals
Midwest: Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, & Royals
Mountain: Rockies, Astros, Rangers, Diamondbacks, & Padres
West: A's, Giants, Angels, Dodgers, & Mariners
I know the Mountain is a bit of a stretch, as is the South, but its the best I could come up with.
Each team would play a much more fair and equitable schedule than they currently have with interleague messing things up. Teams would play a two game series against each team in the other conference. One year the Appalachian teams would play at home and the next year the Continental teams would be at home. (You could also split it up so that not one conference is the home team each year but you get the point.) This would give each team 30 games against the other conference, and they would each play every team.
The rest of the games would be within their own conference. Each division would play the other two divisions a two game home and home series against those ten teams. This would mean they would have 40 games against the other divisions in their conference. The remaining 72 games would consist of 9 home and 9 away games versus teams in their division.
This is much more fair than what they have been playing and it means that to win your division you need to play well against it. It also reduces travel, while making cross country travel more fair. The regular season would start on April 15th and end on September 27th. Spring training would be the four weeks prior. The playoffs would start on September 28th and end on October 30th.
The playoffs would consist of the division winners, and the two next best records in the conference. There would be a best of three game series for the wild card teams and the winner advances as the #4 seed to the division series. #1 plays #4 and #2 plays #3 in a best of five series. The higher seed has home field advantage. Games 1,2, & 5 would be at the higher seed.
The two winners from the division series would then advance to the conference championship, again with the higher seed holding home field, and getting games 1,2, 6, & 7. Conference winners then meet in the World Series, with the same structure as above. Seeding there would be based on the regular season records.
A few rules changes would take place also. Here is where some people are going to get pissed, I know. Keep in mind that baseball is trying to make the game faster, yet many of their changes will actually slow down the game. I have the answers.
1. Eliminate the DH. You want faster games, score less runs.
2. Increase the everyday rosters to 30 men, 14 pitchers and 16 position players.
3. Minimum injury list time will be 4 days for position players and 6 days for pitchers.
4. Replay reviews are called from the press box, only, by a 5th umpire.
5. Balls and strikes will be called electronically. We have the technology, use it.
6. Only one mound visit per inning, unless making a pitching change.
7. Relief pitchers must face a minimum of two batters or close out an inning.
8. All other rules remain as is.
I know that there is a lot of information here and you might need to read this a couple of times to digest it all, but even for a traditionalist like me, this works. There will never be a better time for baseball to make these moves and I look forward to your feedback.
It time to fill up the ballparks again and watch the greatest game invented from the most beautiful place on earth.
Share this with friends and family, and come back for the other great stories posted here. You can also follow me on Twitter, if you dare, where you will see a completely different side of me that you may not be comfortable with, but it is entertaining. I am at @ldm1828 and the name is Chi2PD.