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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Arizona-Florida Plan Creates a Solvable Scheduling Pickle

Last week, two competing plans for an alternate-site baseball season were leaked. The first was the so-called Arizona Plan: Send all 30 teams to Arizona, rotate games between the available fields, and play an abbreviated major league season with no in-person audience. That plan has its logistical pitfalls, but one of the few things the plan doesn’t alter is the existing divisional structure of baseball. Aside from a shorter season and its attendant complications, baseball would mostly work the way it always has: the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees would attempt to club each other into submission, the AL Central would be full of rebuilding teams, and so on.

The second plan, the so-called Arizona-Florida plan, would be something else entirely. Instead of recreating the exact structure of the league in one city, this plan would place each team at their spring training facility. Many of the logistical issues from before would still need to be answered. Assuming those can be handled, however, there’s still one major twist: instead of existing divisions, the teams would be grouped by geographic proximity — and, of course, given that the existing setup isn’t 15 AL teams in one location and 15 NL teams in the other, the leagues would be scrambled.


First things first: how would an odd-numbered league work? Baseball has gone to interleague play in part to avoid this question: in a game where most every team plays most every day, having odd-numbered leagues won’t work. That’s why expansion was always done with two teams joining a single league at once; before the Rockies and Marlins were added, the AL had 14 teams to the NL’s 12. When the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays joined the majors in 1998, the Brewers were shifted to the National League to keep the numbers even — 16 NL teams and 14 AL.

When, in 2013, interleague play became a daily occurrence instead of a specific chunk of calendar, the Astros shifted to the AL, setting up our current 15-team leagues. But of course, the daily interleague play plan won’t work anymore; no one’s flying back and forth across the country in this plan, which is specifically designed to avoid flying back and forth across the country.

A further consideration of aspects of the current proposals concerning the 2020 season.


QLE Posted: April 14, 2020 at 01:22 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 2020 season, arizona bubble league, florida, schedule

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. OsunaSakata Posted: April 14, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5939553)
The problem with an odd number of teams is the multi-game series. None of the other leagues have odd number problems because they only play one-game series. With baseball, a team with a bye, misses out on either a home or road series on a lucrative weekend. But there will be no fans. So having a bye on a Sunday afternoon is not a financial hardship. They could go entirely to one game series, which is what the summer collegiate leagues frequently do.
   2. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 14, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5939558)
Easy answer. Stagger rest days so on many (most) days, one team is off. When all teams are playing, one team plays a day-night doubleheader against different opponents. Since all teams are within busing distance, there is no need for multi-day series. Like in spring training, they can play a different team everyday if they have to.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: April 14, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5939593)
It's totally unfair, but I would just tell some team (probably Cleveland) that they're moving back to Florida this season.
   4. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: April 14, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5939646)
Cleveland and Cincinnati, as the only two eastern time zone teams in Arizona, would probably jump at the chance to move to Florida in this situation. They would get better television ratings because the timing would be better for their fans and they wouldn't have to deal with the Arizona summer heat.
   5. Anonymous Observer Posted: April 14, 2020 at 05:58 PM (#5939827)
It's totally unfair, but I would just tell some team (probably Cleveland) that they're moving back to Florida this season.

Rachel Phelps endorses this plan.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 15, 2020 at 12:31 AM (#5939955)
the Arizona summer heat.

It's a dry heat! I was in Miami Beach in August (not exactly by choice) and couldn't walk two steps at 8 am without becoming drenched in sweat.

But more importantly:

Solvable Pickle -- good or bad band name?

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