MLB Considering Radical Ideas To Get Season Started (UPDATE: Arizona/Florida Division Realignment)

DeadlySplitter

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Both sides acknowledge the uniqueness of the season would not be limited to stadium location or roster size. Among the possibilities that have been discussed among people from both sides, though not in the talks Monday, according to sources:

• Implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the home-plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter

• No mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach

• Seven-inning doubleheaders, which, with an earlier-than-expected start date, could allow baseball to come closer to a full 162-game season

• Regular use of on-field microphones by players, as an added bonus for TV viewers

• Sitting in the empty stands 6 feet apart - the recommended social-distancing space - instead of in a dugout

Each option, though far from certain, is likely to be bandied about in the coming days as the viability of the plan for everyone involved takes shape.
 

ifmanis5

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Woj adds:
Most important would be a significant increase in available coronavirus tests with a quick turnaround time, which sources familiar with the plan believe will happen by early May and allow MLB's testing not to diminish access for the general public.
 

DeadlySplitter

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I wonder how they would go about the first basemen holding a runner on the base.

Oh, and tagging.
and, you know, batter & catcher are certainly closer than 6 feet even at the top of the batter's box.

they're desperate to recoup some revenue via TV ratings, I get it
 

Ale Xander

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Baseball is a statistics-driven game so I don't think the 7 inning game makes any sense. I don't mind the other changes, especially the lack of mound visits.
 

Wingack

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Baseball is a statistics-driven game so I don't think the 7 inning game makes any sense. I don't mind the other changes, especially the lack of mound visits.

I mean this is an idea they have been kicking around anyway. So I think they are looking at this situation as the chance to give it a shot.
 

Wingack

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and, you know, batter & catcher are certainly closer than 6 feet even at the top of the batter's box.

they're desperate to recoup some revenue via TV ratings, I get it
I wonder if like in the link about KBO above I posted, if we will see players wearing face masks, at least for the early part of the season until restrictions are lifted.

It feels like all these ideas were maybe kicked around with Trump on the call he had with major sports leagues, I am sure he wants to get them up and running. It makes sense and will help to bring some normalcy back into people's lives.
 

PseuFighter

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this article leads me to believe they're throwing in the towel on running games at home stadiums with fans and this is basically a prayer for them to salvage something to get baseball running and on tv. i'm all for this. i don't know if the players will be.
 

nattysez

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That social distancing stuff is the result of brainstorming -- I'm sure it was dismissed quickly. You don't need social distancing if everyone has been tested and subject to a strict quarantine.

You could even have the guys in a loose quarantine but require them to be tested upon entering the ballpark every day (assuming quick and accurate tests are ready to go by June).

FWIW, I've heard that part of this plan is that every team plays every day. So if they are playing every day and, let's say, mixing in seven-inning doubleheaders twice a week, there will be some screwy stats coming out of the season no matter what.

this article leads me to believe they're throwing in the towel on running games at home stadiums with fans and this is basically a prayer for them to salvage something to get baseball running and on tv. i'm all for this. i don't know if the players will be.
If the owners offer to pay them as if the full season had been played, I'm sure a lot of guys will jump through whatever hoops are necessary.
 

Ale Xander

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Cross-posting:

I say start on Memorial Sunday, end on Halloween. World Series games 4-7 on Thanksgiving weekend (Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun), figure out how many playoff games you need in between, probably 5 games series for LCS I am thinking, no days off for possible tiebreakers. Don't add rounds. Uneven schedules, so be it.

Play 13 9-inning games every 14 days. Figure out how many games you need. Rainouts don't get postponed, play it or don't .If you do Arizona, that solves that problem. If you end up with uneven games for teams, so be it.
 

djbayko

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That social distancing stuff is the result of brainstorming -- I'm sure it was dismissed quickly. You don't need social distancing if everyone has been tested and subject to a strict quarantine.

You could even have the guys in a loose quarantine but require them to be tested upon entering the ballpark every day (assuming quick and accurate tests are ready to go by June).

FWIW, I've heard that part of this plan is that every team plays every day. So if they are playing every day and, let's say, mixing in seven-inning doubleheaders twice a week, there will be some screwy stats coming out of the season no matter what.



If the owners offer to pay them as if the full season had been played, I'm sure a lot of guys will jump through whatever hoops are necessary.
I'm not sure I agree. Tests aren't fool proof. I think every layer of mitigation they add is helpful. And even then, people have to understand that someone is going to get sick.
 

nattysez

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Yeah, I am sure they don't care if they are getting paid.
Brett Anderson apparently disagrees

View: https://twitter.com/_BAnderson30_/status/1247389922094239744


How do they telecast these games?
They'd mask the camerapeople who handle the cams near the dugout. And the broadcasters can just call the game based on the feed.

But how do they prep the playing surface every day? That's a LOT of additional folks who'll have to be quarantined -- probably 10-15 per stadium.
 

Melrose Diner

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So, just to lay it out for those unfamiliar with AZ:

We’ve got 10 spring training facilities spread out in a way that makes it pretty easy to get around. Back of the napkin guessing makes it about an hour for the longest trip between stadiums. I doubt they’re going to account for which one belongs to which team, but they are as follows:

Tempe (Angels), two in Mesa (Cubs and A’s), Surprise (Royals/Rangers), Peoria (Padres/Mariners), Glendale (Dodgers/White Sox), Goodyear (Indians/Reds), Scottsdale (Giants), Talking Stick (DBacks/Rockies), Maryvale (Brewers). Add on Chase Field, Phoenix Municipal (ASU, formerly Oakland), and Grand Canyon Univ that makes 13 facilities that are pretty much plug and play. Each facility also has a number of auxiliary fields, although not every one is regulation size and probably not TV ready.

Plenty of hotel space, with Oakland’s current stadium and Maryvale the two least ideal travel spots. It’s going to be hot as hell in the summer time but it’s bearable if you have some 8pm starts. Problem would be if you really need to do the doubleheader’s, because the high temperature doesn’t hit til around 3-4pm in the summer time and we’ve got monsoon season to deal with as well, which will likely wash out quite a few game days. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they did super early starts during the summer, something like an 8/12 doubleheader.

It’s late and this is rambling, but logistically this could absolutely work although they will have a couple hurdles to climb with the weather and needing two additional fields (three if they don’t like GCU) for TV purposes.
 

pokey_reese

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Honestly, I don’t care what changes or concessions are needed. If it’s reasonably safe, I say go for it. I really miss baseball right now.
 

nolasoxfan

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Woj adds:
Most important would be a significant increase in available coronavirus tests with a quick turnaround time, which sources familiar with the plan believe will happen by early May and allow MLB's testing not to diminish access for the general public.
Does anyone here really believe this last clause? I call BS.
Stay closed like every other part of society. Frankly, I’d rather MLB just run a computer simulated EA Sports season.
 

B H Kim

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This is just profoundly stupid and ill-conceived. I hope the players association has enough backbone to say no. No matter how many precautions they take, it puts the players and everyone else associated with the games at risk. I, for one, won’t watch if they go through with this.
 

loshjott

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I think this is workable only if there are widespread, accurate tests available. Maybe that would push the start to June or even July, but could still be done. Hell, the season could start with a home run derby, all-star type celebration of baseball, then start real games.

If testing is widespread, to ease the family burden it could be like 3 weeks packed with games then a week off for each team (staggered so games are happening every day). So immediate family members could visit in a controlled fashion.

I love this potential, but again it's all about testing capability.
 

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Two of the biggest problems here:

1. Heat; and

2. Heat forcing night games. Arizona is 3 hours behind the east coast. I guess NESN could draw some audience on morning replays.
 

j44thor

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Brett Anderson is a 12-year MLB veteran who has made $56 million in his career - younger players without guaranteed contracts may not share his outlook on this.
4 and 1/2 months means you get to spend 7 & 1/2 months with your family while you aren't working. I don't think they are going to find a ton of support from general public that sacrificing for 4 & 1/2 months is that great a hardship for what they are paid.

I think a lot of this depends on what happens in China. They just opened back up and if things deteriorate in the next 30-60 days this is probably a non-starter but if China with 4X the population of US can get back to normal there will be immense pressure on the US to follow suit in 2-3 months max.
 

B H Kim

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I can't believe that people are seriously considering this nonsense. What happens when a player tests positive, which will happen at some point? Does his team forfeit the next two weeks' games? Are they going to test everyone who enters the stadium every day, because that's probably thousands of tests a day for a full slate of games? They shouldn't be allowed to do that before these tests are fully available to the general public without restriction. And what happens if a player needs to leave the bubble, if for example a relative gets sick or his wife goes into labor? Are they kept out of action for two weeks? As I said, this is foolish and I really hope the players refuse to go along.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I think this is workable only if there are widespread, accurate tests available. Maybe that would push the start to June or even July, but could still be done. Hell, the season could start with a home run derby, all-star type celebration of baseball, then start real games.

If testing is widespread, to ease the family burden it could be like 3 weeks packed with games then a week off for each team (staggered so games are happening every day). So immediate family members could visit in a controlled fashion.

I love this potential, but again it's all about testing capability.
Once family members start visiting then you'll infect everyone again. This isn't doable without the players being sealed off from the outside world. Maybe the family is sealed in with them.
 

CaptainLaddie

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This is just profoundly stupid and ill-conceived. I hope the players association has enough backbone to say no. No matter how many precautions they take, it puts the players and everyone else associated with the games at risk. I, for one, won’t watch if they go through with this.
Yes, exactly. This is a terrible, terrible idea. They tried this in China with the CBA and the league got shut down so quickly. Same thing will happen here.

I can't believe that people are seriously considering this nonsense. What happens when a player tests positive, which will happen at some point? Does his team forfeit the next two weeks' games? Are they going to test everyone who enters the stadium every day, because that's probably thousands of tests a day for a full slate of games? They shouldn't be allowed to do that before these tests are fully available to the general public without restriction. And what happens if a player needs to leave the bubble, if for example a relative gets sick or his wife goes into labor? Are they kept out of action for two weeks? As I said, this is foolish and I really hope the players refuse to go along.
Preach.

this is ridiculous. MLB is going to get thousands of tests a week for their players, staff, and stadium crews? While people are stuck at home? Absurd.
 

JCizzle

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If the MLB can get access to bulk quantities of the 5 min tests, then this is a great idea. The NBA and other leagues should also be pursuing it. Heck, you could test people twice within ten minutes to be extra safe. I think there's value in having distractions like this and they'd probably get killer ratings for even day games.
 

Humphrey

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Can't have family visits. Can't have players or staff leave for family emergenies (births, etc.) w/o quaranting them afterwards. Can't have audiences. Can't have players in hotels with other people not involved in the games or some ancillary aspect of the games.

And, 100% agree that the testing has to be on a different level than it is on now.

Sunset there in the summer months is between 7 and 745 PM...but it's the same time zone as the west coast in the summer, so you have to factor that into the start times w/the heat.
 

Wingack

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There is an interesting debate here, and the country, I guess about what obligation the players have to work if the owners want them to and how many changes to the workplace are in bounds to ask for, if the players want to get paid.

I’m sure someone around here can speak to labor issues better than me.
 
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E5 Yaz

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4 and 1/2 months means you get to spend 7 & 1/2 months with your family while you aren't working.
After what everyone has gone through, particularly children too young to understand what's happening around them, separating from family so that fans can watch games doesn't seem like a high priority
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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If the MLB can get access to bulk quantities of the 5 min tests, then this is a great idea. The NBA and other leagues should also be pursuing it. Heck, you could test people twice within ten minutes to be extra safe. I think there's value in having distractions like this and they'd probably get killer ratings for even day games.
Are you referring to testing fans? It took my son and me 30 minutes to get through the effing metal detectors at the A's wild card game last year. If testing is done, being in your seat by the 5th inning would be challenging.
 

JCizzle

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Are you referring to testing fans? It took my son and me 30 minutes to get through the effing metal detectors at the A's wild card game last year. If testing is done, being in your seat by the 5th inning would be challenging.
Oh no, I don't think there's any chance this could be done with fans. My thought is players & the absolute minimum necessary personnel only (i.e. umpires, etc.). Abbott said they're making 50,000 of these quick turnaround tests per day starting April 1. By the end of May, that's theoretically 3M tests available - likely more if another company jumps in with a similar offering. I don't think it's unreasonable that these leagues could acquire a dedicated number of those tests by then. At least enough capacity to test the bare minimum number of personnel needed on a daily basis.
 

InstaFace

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Once family members start visiting then you'll infect everyone again. This isn't doable without the players being sealed off from the outside world. Maybe the family is sealed in with them.
Baseball island reservation!

(Gray Eagle proposed it for the NFL this fall)

The biggest change I'd make is to put one league in Arizona and the other in Florida, in a combination of ST, MiLB and MLB sites. Otherwise you don't have the stadiums available to play all the games you need to play every day, not without seconding some college fields and such. Even if you throw in Isotopes Field in Albuquerque.

Also, as was suggested about the NBA - if you're reducing this to a skeleton crew without fans, you just can't let slip the opportunity to play in a bunch of locations that are symbolic or awesome places for a ballgame, but normally would be too humble to have MLB-level athletes performing in them. Go play a few series in the Iowa Field of Dreams, assuming appropriate charter flights available. Go send 4 teams to do barnstorming round-robins at parks in the Minnesota Town Ball League. Go play some games that matter in Cooperstown, or at this field in Oklahoma made entirely out of red rocks. Go play at some fields (with decent dimensions) with staggeringly beautiful backdrops, whether they're college, recreational, minor-league, whatever. Make it a journey through the beauty of american ballparks, lasting all summer and fall. You televise, you commentate, you play, you move on.




(I've both played and umped at this one in lower manhattan, the dimensions are too small for proper MLB play, but the backdrop is even better than it looks)


(that's Alaska)


(McCormick Field in Asheville NC, home of the Rockies' single-A affiliate, and built in 1924 into the side of a hill in several directions)


(Coney Island, with the beach and Atlantic right there)


(How much you wanna bet I can hit a ball over them mountains in Montana?)


(Stephen King's private field, literally in his backyard and built for the local LL, in Bangor Maine)


(Seaside Park in Marblehead MA, built 1910, Babe Ruth allegedly barnstormed there)


(Dudy Noble Field, of Mississippi State)


(BYU)

...and bring back (memories of) the Hawaiian Winter League! I bet @mauidano would be on board, along with like a hundred current or recent big leaguers (see list at link).



Really, the possibilities are almost endless. And when else might MLB get a legit opportunity to highlight these kind of places, the sheer geographic diversity of baseball, without it being a huge hit in the wallet just from opportunity cost? Maybe never.
 

Marciano490

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What about the minor leaguers and who would be game ready to be called up in case of injury or illness (or suckitude)?
 

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What about the minor leaguers and who would be game ready to be called up in case of injury or illness (or suckitude)?
It's rumored that teams will have expanded rosters so they will be able to deal with any number of issues quickly. So you won't need to fly a player from Buffalo, NY to Phoenix, that player will likely already be on the team.
 

brs3

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My mom has covid19, so I really probably shouldn't even be chiming in with my bias. My brother's doctor had to exaggerate my brother's symptoms to get a test that will take 2 days for results. They won't even test my dad and tests are reserved for the very sick. I have a big problem with athletes getting any sort of special treatment in testing if they're perfectly healthy and they're doing this in hopes of resuming baseball.

People are dying, in part, because of lengthy waits for tests, and tests that take days for results. They are as delusional as the leader of the country if they think this will be much better in a month from now. If MLB has tests on hand already, they should donate them to local hospitals. I miss baseball, but even raising this idea is stupid.
 

CaptainLaddie

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My mom has covid19, so I really probably shouldn't even be chiming in with my bias. My brother's doctor had to exaggerate my brother's symptoms to get a test that will take 2 days for results. They won't even test my dad and tests are reserved for the very sick. I have a big problem with athletes getting any sort of special treatment in testing if they're perfectly healthy and they're doing this in hopes of resuming baseball.

People are dying, in part, because of lengthy waits for tests, and tests that take days for results. They are as delusional as the leader of the country if they think this will be much better in a month from now. If MLB has tests on hand already, they should donate them to local hospitals. I miss baseball, but even raising this idea is stupid.
Thank you for saying this. It's absolutely ridiculous that this is even being talked about.
 

brs3

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Thank you for saying this. It's absolutely ridiculous that this is even being talked about.
Baseball is the only sport I care about, but hospitals are picking and choosing who gets tested, and they're telling people to stay home until their symptoms get worse..which you factor in people thinking symptoms aren't that bad and suddenly they're in organ failure before they can get to the hospital.

Until anyone can get tested as frequently as they wish, a game of rich dudes running around sunny fields should be squashed. I hope the social. media horde can shame MLB and any other sport considering this.
 

Bernie Carbohydrate

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Oh no, I don't think there's any chance this could be done with fans. My thought is players & the absolute minimum necessary personnel only (i.e. umpires, etc.). Abbott said they're making 50,000 of these quick turnaround tests per day starting April 1. By the end of May, that's theoretically 3M tests available - likely more if another company jumps in with a similar offering. I don't think it's unreasonable that these leagues could acquire a dedicated number of those tests by then. At least enough capacity to test the bare minimum number of personnel needed on a daily basis.
In a country of 330 million people, "by the end of May...3M tests available" is a disaster, not an opportunity to restart spectator sports. I wish this could happen, but the only solution is 29689
 

InsideTheParker

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This is stupid for so many reasons. From a Red Sox fan's point of view, it only works if they play morning games, because afternoons will be too hot and we'll be asleep for evening games. I am longing for baseball, but I can't see this working well.
 

Plympton91

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Given where some of the more severe publicly available forecasts see unemployment headed, kids not having real school, and baseball viewership skewing older toward those already retired and not in the labor force anyway, a large majority of the country will have no problem with late starts by May.
 

grimshaw

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I like that some of the proposals include some things that fans have wanted to see anyhow regardless of the current world plight: An automated strike zone, limited mound visits, and hearing more player interaction.

If baseball pulls this off, it could dramatically improve the sport and add millions of new fans.

Also - they could broadcast from 8-10am pacific time as well. They don't have to be late night. Zero competition from anything else.
 
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