On Monday, MLB announced that the season wouldn’t begin until mid-May, at the earliest. Of course, the decision became based on one thing and one thing only, the safety of the community. Like all other professional, collegiate, and high school sports, MLB suspended play to avoid spreading the coronavirus. At this time, two Yankees minor league players have tested positive. I’m sure more players contracted it, but it isn’t straightforward to determine based on self-diagnosis. While we wait for the regular season to begin, there are questions that the league will need to address, especially on how the regular season will play out (and if). Here are some options the league can use to let the schedule play out (assuming Mid-May is the end goal).
Eight weeks from today is May 11. This isn’t clear as to whether they currently plan to try to pick up the season there, or if they’ll allow teams to start practicing then. Either way, uh… find a hobby, friends. https://t.co/CcrO6F2R04
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) March 16, 2020
1. Play 162 games and shift the season to end in Mid-November
I’m not going to sugar-coat this, the NFL rules in ratings. Therefore, keeping the 162 games and ending the season around mid-November is problematic for ratings and attendance. Now people will attend games, and teams will receive some revenue, but will they break even? I don’t count on it too much. It’s the most natural solution for schedule makers as the league shifts the dates but keeps the same combination of opponents. Also, if the season ends mid-November, then the World Series ends in mid-December. In those cold climate cities where snowstorms are possible, more issues created for MLB. This idea is unlikely, but I’m sure it crossed their minds.
MLB clubs have committed $30M — $1M apiece — to assist the ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to our season. pic.twitter.com/ZzJOkxGt2e
— MLB (@MLB) March 17, 2020
2. Eliminate several division games and remove Interleague for 2020
Out of the Rangers 162 games, 76 come against the American League West (same for the other 29 teams in their respective divisions). That’s close to fifty percent, and twenty games come against the other league. Between late March to mid-May, you’re looking at about 40-50 games in that span. My thought is reducing the number of division games from 76 to 48 and removing the interleague games, and all of a sudden, you’re left with a season reduction of 48 games (114 game season). Then next season, the league can go back to the same interleague cycle. The Rangers would play the NL East in 2021 like the schedule had in 2020 and then play the NL West in 2022, and so on. Each AL team would visit the new park, you still get more games against division oppositions, and next year the NL teams can enjoy the new palace.
3. Erase the season
Canceling the season is the worst-case scenario. However, talk around people, news, etc. make it feel that this pandemic may last for another 3-4 months. By that time, the initially scheduled season would be half over to about 100 games if there’s an exhibition period. So would a 62 game season make sense? Honestly, if things don’t pick up until July, I’d say scratch a season and maybe play exhibition games for the players to warm up. It’ll be a devastating blow to the players, fans, coaches, and MLB, but if the league prohibits fans from the corridors of Major League parks due to safety, then the white flag may have to waive, hopefully not. But hey, at least we got Tim Dillard to keep us entertained.
Rangers Injury News
The Rangers announced that outfielder Willie Calhoun expects to resume light activities later this week. It’s terrific news considering nine days ago, Willie got blasted in the jaw by a fastball and underwent surgery. The scheduled recovery time co-insights with the projected start to the regular season, therefore Willie may not miss any time and may still be on the opening day lineup. Calhoun didn’t show any symptoms of concussions.
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