The proposal now has to be negotiated with the MLBPA. The basic idea is to kick off renewed spring training in June and the regular season in early July. The plan would be to have a roughly 82 games season.
There are a number of ideas being bandied about, some obvious, some likely to be met with animosity from a lot of fans, some weird and hopefully only one-off oddities.
The schedule is expected to involve mostly intradivision games…and games from the same region. That means, to cut down travel costs and headaches, NL v AL East/Central/West more so than games against other teams from other divisions in their own league. That’d be an artificial boost to the Central division teams, and suck for the NL East.
Games are expected to be in empty stadiums, duh. Some areas may still not be open for sports, and teams calling cities in those areas home may have to play in neutral sites or use their spring training home. The one team I saw named was the Blue Jays’ maybe playing home games in Dunedin. No smart aleck remarks about the Rays being used to playing in an empty stadium allowed.
The proposal also apparently involves 14 playoff teams this year. This is an idea I dislike. While it makes a little sense in that half as many regular season games definitely means more randomness to the standings. Still, it also means it’s more likely to have a losing team get into the crap shoot that is the playoffs. It’s also an idea that Manfred has kicked around as a possibility for normal seasons, so here’s a place where the term “slippery slope” may have merit.
The next one is likely to give Old Gator indigestion. The proposal involves universal use of the DH. I’m on record preferring that pitchers hit too, and actually like that the AL and NL are different. As a one-off, if they must use regional scheduling, then it makes some sense though…for this year only.
They’re also talking more double headers. I’ve no issue per se there. However, the idea of starting a runner on base in, maybe, to 12th inning to avoid marathon games, is anathema to me. Yuck.
Of course, there will also have to be agreements on roster sizes (they’re expected to be expanded) and pay. The two sides previously agreed that players will get full-year service time credit. The All Star Game won’t happen. All the previous things about testing, etc, relating to player and staff health discussed in previous posts also still apply, of course.