With COVID-19 forcing all professional sports leagues to shut down all operations, leagues have been thinking of unique ways to get started again. The MLB’s plan is very out of the ordinary.
The MLB had planned to restructure the league based on spring training leagues. It would have split the leagues into three divisions. These would have been based on the locations of each teams’ spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida.
While interesting, negative feedback pushed the idea away, as the MLB went with another radical change to combat the COVID-19 virus.
The decision now is to go with three 10-team divisions, divided between the west, central and east divisions, based on geographic location. This would allow the teams to play in their home ballparks, with the least amount of travel, but still with no fans.
Of course, this is a totally different look for the MLB. Yet, it’s also a very different look for Southern California’s teams, the Angels and the Dodgers.
Due to the new look divisions, the Angels and Dodgers will be playing each other a lot more. With more rivalry games between favorite teams, the MLB’s proposal still has a lot of questions to be answered.
Only having three divisions means the playoffs will look very different, with more at stake for teams. This leaves the door open for a supersized playoff field.
With a playoff field this large, one could say there will be at least a month of highly competitive baseball, similar to the College World Series. Having a big tournament and finishing off with the traditional divisional, championship and World Series, would be the ideal plan.
This all would take place around the beginning of November, as the MLB hopes to have the season start at the end of June, which would have been around the time of the league’s All-star game series.
With the general plans laid out, there are still details that would need to be clarified.
Among the necessary clarifications, DH rules in National League ballparks, how the playoffs will actually go, how long until fans will be allowed to watch games in-person and other safety concerns for the teams.
The league is far from having everything set in stone, but to have a layout that can work in place, is a good thing for baseball fans all around.