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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Baseball brainstorm: Brackets? 7-inning games? How MLB could experiment in a short season

The fate of Major League Baseball’s 2020 season is up in the air as the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic. At the very least, its form will have to be altered.

That is not what anyone wished for, but if public health eventually stabilizes enough to allow for sporting events, an unusual season could carry a small opportunity for America’s most tradition-bound game. The baseball world is constantly obsessing over the tug of war between adaptation to the contemporary entertainment environment and adherence to the rules, numbers and structures that, over more than a century, have created a rich framework around the sport. A season that is already inherently different is a chance to float a trial balloon, to see how different the sport can be before we denounce it as too different. (When the NBA began a lockout-shortened year on Christmas Day, for instance, many were convinced every season should start on Dec. 25.)

So, we assembled the Yahoo Sports baseball staff in Slack, put the more pressing pandemic-related questions to the side for a moment, and took to the whiteboard, so to speak: What experiments could baseball run in 2020 that might stick around?

So, how would you handle such matters?

QLE Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bad ideas, brackets, seven-inning games, shortened season

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 26, 2020 at 04:53 AM (#5933628)
I'm sure somebody else here has noted this by now but it occurred to me that what we end up with is possibly most similar to 1981. The first "half" was 48 (Pitt) to 59 (SFG) games played in the NL; the second "half" was 51 to 54 games. If you could go to the playoffs based on a record over 53 games then why not 60 or 80 if they can manage to squeeze that many in. And the Cards and Reds had the best overall records in each division but didn't make the playoffs so screwing over a good team that just had a sub-par 50 games has been done too.
   2. Sunday silence Posted: March 26, 2020 at 02:53 PM (#5933790)
7 inn game is mentioned in the headline and there's like one throwaway quote in the entire article about it. Bah! Bait and switch.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 26, 2020 at 03:11 PM (#5933798)
Manfred had an interview with ESPN yesterday. He was noncommittal on most specifics, for obvious reasons, but at one point suggested starting to ramp-up for the season sometime in May might be a best case scenario. That would seem to suggest starting the season in June. A late June start could still get you to 100 games, or better if you add some doubleheaders and/or extend the season. It’s not ideal, but an 81 - 110 game season would be close enough to feel like the real thing, although the problem may be that some of those games could be played without spectators, or teams in “hotspots” might have to make different arrangements. Of course, at this point there’s no guarantee that we even get that much of a season. We’re just going to have to accept that 2020 will be different for MLB, and many other things.
   4. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: March 26, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5933809)
Yeah, If they get somewhere between 80-110 games I think that’s a pretty huge win honestly.
   5. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: March 26, 2020 at 08:50 PM (#5933886)
teams in “hotspots” might have to make different arrangements

Unless things turn around real fast, there will be no baseball in New York this season, period. (Citi Field will be as derelict as it appeared in the opening scene of Avengers: Endgame.)

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