Doing the Most with the Least

How are you all doing out there? Above all, we hope you and your loved ones are saying safe and healthy while we’re all hunkered down. Now onto (the lack of) baseball.

Earlier in the week, Randy and Derek discussed on episode 2 of the podcast some potential ways to deal with a shortened schedule, including playoff ramifications. Coincidentally, Mariano Rivera discussed similar things on the Michael Kay Show on Friday. His main takeaway?

“I don’t think you can play a 60-game season and you call yourself a champion…Anything can happen in 60 games. I don’t think it’s enough.”

Mo isn’t wrong. 60 games, or even 81, wouldn’t be enough for there to be a World Series champion that felt legitimate compared to other ones. But this season is not going to be completely legitimate, no matter when it begins. As Randy and Derek suggested, MLB should take advantage of this and experiment, do things differently. This is going to be a very different year, so why not make things different?

Randy and Derek suggested a geographic realignment, based on Grapefruit and Cactus League divisions and that would be pretty cool. It would foment new rivalries–even if just for a year–and would probably force a universal DH. Obviously this would eliminate traditional AL/NL alignment, but it’s worth it. MLB is the only league that still sticks to such division and, while charming and something I wouldn’t necessarily change, it is a touch antiquated and seeing it updated, even briefly, would be fun.

Another way to eliminate AL/NL and add a little bit of fun chaos could be to have the entire MLB play each other in a balanced schedule with the top-8 teams, regardless of league, making the playoffs, seeded 1 v 8, 2 v 7, etc. This could lead to some different, more exciting World Series matchups. Imagine a Yankees/Astros World Series? That would have a ton of juice.

Knowing MLB, they’ll likely play it straight. If they do, though, they’ll need to rework the schedule in some way. Given how late they’re going to start, given matchups, they’ll need to alter the original schedule to make it look like a normal season, even with fewer games.

It’s frustrating that there’ll be some form of chaos in a year in which the Yankees are poised to be so good. With a traditional schedule, they’d like win 95+ games and coast into the playoffs. An altered format adds some variability and unpredictability to the mix, but the Yankees are good enough to weather that.

If we get baseball this year, it’ll be unpredictable and that will be fun. Hopefully, a condensed season will get some attention and new viewers. There’s nothing wrong with hooking people in with a novelty for one time, then getting back to normalcy. I think that’s what everyone’s doing now anyway, right? We’re all trying out what works for our quarantined lives, waiting for normalcy to return.

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4 Comments

  1. DZB

    I think sports leagues will generally have to roll without fans in attendance for the foreseeable future. That is likely to be a better economic position than not playing at all. I saw the suggestion of doing a bunch of double headers and I imagine a lot could be of the ‘single admission’ type given there is no actual crowd, so no loss in terms of gate revenue. I am desperately depressed by the lack of baseball, so I will be super happy with anything a this point. Though I will also sorely miss the excitement of the Yankee Stadium crowds!

  2. Dani

    I think they’ll try to do a full lenght-ish season as long as it is possible. Once the weather gets too cold they could play in the south and/or domes I think they’d play in December, maybe even in January if necessary. INWYW but it’s just what this season is.

    Games without fans will probably be a thing for the foreseeable future. Here in Europe they already talk about soccer games being played without fans until March 2021.

  3. Mungo

    I’d be fine if they started games without fans, something I would not have said a couple weeks back. It would be a step toward normalcy. Even at that, I don’t see games before mid-May, even without fans, and it could go into July. Beyond that, agree mostly that if a large portion of the season is wiped out, they may want to use it as an opportunity to experiment with a few different formats. Most would simply be happy to have the game back.

  4. DanGer

    “MLB is the only league that still sticks to such division ”

    May I’m misunderstanding but NFL operates the same as MLB, just with one more division in each league, no?

    Personally I’m not a fan of NBA style conference seeding. I like division rivalries and it’s there’s a huge injustice, there’s the WC to make up for it. No interest in seeing a .500 team back into the playoffs

    Neat idea though to make this year a free-for-all and throw the rule book out the window.

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