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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

MLB: Throw out the schedule and turn 2020 into one big tournament

The shape of the 2020 Major League Baseball season doesn’t even make the top-100 list of things that matter at the moment, but it’s my bailiwick, so I’m thinking about it a lot right now. Thinking, mostly, about how it might look when it does, eventually, resume.

At the moment it’s almost impossible to imagine a season that resumes before Memorial Day and, more realistically, I think it’ll be much longer. Let’s say for a moment that teams don’t ramp up training again until June and the season can’t get started until July. What then?

One thing that makes no sense is to simply start the currently-existing schedule from where it would be on go-date. Mostly because it’d be unfair. I mean, the full schedule is already unfair given its unbalanced nature, with teams in different divisions competing for the Wild Cards and for playoff seeding while playing schedules of radically different strength compared to their competitors. If, say, the Athletics have half of their games against Houston lopped off but the Rays still have to play the Yankees a dozen times or more, you’re just exacerbating an already suboptimal situation.

One way to deal with that is to generate a new schedule, unbalanced or balanced, that begins at the new start date. Scheduling is super hard, though. The number of variables that go into it are massive. Logistics, travel patterns, avoiding various large events in certain cities such as concerts and political conventions whatnot are a lot to plan around, and that’s with months and months of advance work. When we figure out 2020’s go-date, we’re not going to have a ton of time to generate a coherent schedule and plan for it in all the ways it normally has to be planned for.

On the bright side, at least Kool and the Gang have already written the perfect theme song for this.


QLE Posted: March 17, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: schedule, tournament

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 17, 2020 at 07:25 AM (#5931286)
One of the many problems with the tournament idea is that 14 teams would be eliminated in the first round, their seasons done. A team that's swept would have a five game season. You could turn it into something like a college basketball holiday tournament, with losers' brackets and the like and every team playing the same number of games. Eventually the Diamondbacks and Cardinals play to see who finishes 11th. Looking forward to the epic Orioles/Tigers battle for 29th place!
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 17, 2020 at 07:27 AM (#5931287)
The tournament would also work a lot better with 32 teams, so maybe put together two barnstorming teams of unsigned free agents, AAAA "stars", recently retired guys wanting a last hurrah, maybe a few players from foreign leagues that are shut down.
   3. Scott Lange Posted: March 17, 2020 at 08:09 AM (#5931294)
The tournament would also work a lot better with 32 teams, so maybe put together two barnstorming teams of unsigned free agents, AAAA "stars", recently retired guys wanting a last hurrah, maybe a few players from foreign leagues that are shut down.[

#1 already said the Orioles and Tigers would be included.
   4. Ron J Posted: March 17, 2020 at 08:20 AM (#5931297)
#1 You could also add repechage. Bridge's Rosenbloom Cup had (not sure the current setup) a setup that would keep all teams playing meaningful games for quite some sime.

Basically you split the teams up into a number of groups and do a round robin for a first cull. The teams that are eliminated from the main bracket are dropped into a loser bracket (an endless swiss -- which makes it unlikely that anybody will get a big lead on the field as the leaders will be playing each other, as will the bad teams). The main bracket is slowly culled with the teams dropping into the loser bracket with pre-set points.

In the end you have 3 teams from the main bracket (could be any number. 7 will work too) and one team (again, any number is possible. Hell, you could have the loser bracket go into a mini-tournament for the last spot) coming from the loser side to join in the championship elimination.

Everybody gets to play a lot and most teams will be in contention for the last chance spot.
   5. Lassus Posted: March 17, 2020 at 08:46 AM (#5931303)
I like it.
   6. depletion Posted: March 17, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5931427)
Decent idea. Could be a good experiment to gauge fan response. Season is basically toast anyway
   7. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: March 17, 2020 at 02:32 PM (#5931446)
Or we can accept that life isn't fair and which team wins the world series this year isn't that important and just go with the current schedule from whatever start date is chosen. Going with a new schedule (of any kind) brings in a lot of logistic issues and other problems that are just not important enough to deal with. A simple one is that I might have paid a premium to see the Yankees on a certain day and the new schedule now has the Marlins as the opponent that day. So do I get a full refund because I don't want to see the Marlins, do I just get a refund of the premium they charge for the Yankees, or am I forced to watch the game as newly scheduled? Multiple this with a hundred other scenarios to understand the logistic problems with a new schedule.
   8. Sleepy was just “inspecting the bunker”, y’all Posted: March 17, 2020 at 07:10 PM (#5931538)
They could squeeze 162 games into July-October by playing 5 game series every 3 days with double headers on days one and three. Then a day off.

Maybe bump the rosters up to 30, with half the pitchers only available on any given day.

Playoffs in November in domed stadiums. We could use some of the trillion dollars we’re about to set on fire to build new domes as required.

If they could start June 1st they could reduce it to one double header per series and still get 154 games in. That’s not even really crazy.

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