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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Embrace the Weirdness: Five Ways to Make a 2020 Season Compelling

The 2020 season will be unlike any other we’ve seen before. Indeed, there may not even be a season. The COVID-19 pandemic has already altered baseball to an even greater degree than the World Wars did. While finding a way to resume play has become a rare point of common interest for MLB and the MLBPA, a contagious illness that spreads easily and is more dangerous than the seasonal flu presents a whole host of problems that need to be solved before a new Opening Day can be announced. Do you quarantine players? How long do you play without fans? What happens if a player tests positive in mid-August?

But let’s assume for a moment that the IHME model is on target. The model predicts that if we can keep up our current social distancing efforts (and the straggler states join in), the worst effects of the virus will be behind us by early-to-mid June. The return of baseball would be a welcome symbol of normalcy, and a baseball season that starts in July could largely be played without too many compromises other than the number of games. But I think it would be a mistake for baseball to just go back to the regular structure. The game will be returning against the backdrop of an international tragedy. In this dark time, baseball should focus on the enjoyable parts of the sport, even if things get a little…weird. 2021 can return to normal business, but let’s make 2020 fun.

United we stand, divided we Fall…Classic
Divisions have been a part of baseball for a half-century — even longer if you consider leagues to be de facto divisions. They’re a convenient way to group teams engaged in competition for playoff spots and to create additional meaningful races beyond simple seeding. But one of the problems with divisions is they just don’t make all that much sense in a severely shortened season. Whether the season is 80 or 100 or 120 games, it will provide less of an opportunity for teams to prove themselves superior to their division rivals. And the shorter the season, the less likely it is that a team will run away with a one-division league and make things boring.

So, for 2020, let’s axe the divisions. 15 teams per league, a balanced schedule, and the top X teams in each league advancing to the playoffs. Since seeding isn’t as much of an advantage in baseball as it is in other sports, and teams are closer to each other in quality, we can maintain some kind of bye situation for the first team or two in each league to make winning the league matter.

A series of proposals by a longtime figure here.

QLE Posted: April 08, 2020 at 01:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: 2020 season, 40 man rosters, all-star game, divisions, mlb.tv, players weekend, szymborski

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Blue Jays games will be blacked out on MLB.TV in Canada

Canadian MLB.TV subscribers received an email yesterday that informed them that Blue Jays games will no longer be able to be streamed live on the league’s streaming service. Those wishing to stream Jays games will now need to subscribe to Sportsnet NOW, a streaming service provided by the broadcasting network that carries Jays games on television.

As Andrew Stoeten wrote in The Athletic, Canadian subscribers were unable to view the Jays live on MLB.TV until the mid 2010’s, when the restriction was lifted. MLB.TV subsequently became a popular purchase for Canadian fans.

Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Media, which also owns the Jays. Clearly this is meant to be a moneymaking opportunity for Rogers, but it’s remarkably shortsighted and petty.

Sportsnet NOW comes at a comparable price to MLB.TV, but it doesn’t carry the whole league. By encouraging fans to subscribe to MLB.TV. you also encourage them to check out baseball as a whole and grow love of the game. And for those fans who are already avid MLB.TV watchers and enjoy the full scope of baseball, they now have to shell out for a second streaming service that isn’t on as many devices as the app they already use.

A consideration of the issue of blackouts- I suppose I am fortunate in that the ones in my neck of the woods are reasonable.

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blackouts, blue jays, broadcasting, canada, mlb.tv

 

 

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