Usually, before the MLB season begins, I own a few articles about the end of the year results. Choosing the award winners as well as making some predictions for the season and speculating on the most exciting storylines that season. However, then 2020 reared its ugly head, and those pieces went out the window. So the question now becomes what can be expected from a potential MLB season in 2020?
Odd Number of Games
Currently, the MLB And MLBPA are arguing over money (check out our recent piece on Will There be Baseball in 2020.) And both sides are negotiating through the media with leaks coming weekly from both side’s proposals. Fans, honestly, only care about one thing that we have MLB games in 2020. Several numbers have been thrown around in the media 50, 82, and 114, just to name a few. But whatever the number ends up being (even/odd), it will feel like a strange number because it isn’t 162.
Baseball is the predominant leader in sports for referencing the past. Because mostly the game has played the same number of games for so long, this shortened season will be an oddity in the annals of baseball history. However, MLB will better be served by having a season. Because forgoing the 2020 campaign because of money, it’s something I feel, MLB can not recover from quickly, if at all. (We penned a Fan’s Letter to the MLB Decision-Makers about that very issue.)
A shortened-season allows teams to “go for it.” Whether it’s an 82 or 96 or 114 or even a 50 game season, all 30 MLB teams can win it all. A shortened-season means that the “better” teams have less time to separate themselves. While the “weaker” teams can find themselves on a hot streak. A hot streak that carries them to whatever the Post-Season format will be this year. Baseball is very competitive, and the parody within MLB has given way to a new champion every season since the year 2000. While we have seen teams win multiple championships in that time, they have not gone back-to-back as other sports have seen. Competition in MLB in 2020 is likely to be even more competitive with the shortened format.
The purposed formatting for the league is based on geography (well mostly, more on that in a moment.) The league will be broken down into regions East, Central, and West. Meaning the MLB Eastern Division will be comprised of the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pittsburgh Pirates in the East & Braves in the Central?
Now, bear with me as I run on a little bit of a tangent here. How are the Atlanta Braves, a team that is slotted usually into the NL East Division, now a part of the MLB Central Division? Where Pittsburgh that’s generally in the NL Central during none 2020 seasons is lumped in with the East??? This makes zero sense to me. Swapping the Braves and Pirates keeps the leagues relatively the same as in most other seasons. I’m not sure who the genius was that decided that, but they need to have their head examined. When you look on a map, Atlanta is much closer to the eastern seaboard than Pittsburgh. So what are you doing MLB???
But I digress, fans will be looking at the innovations forced by CO-VID19 and how MLB adapted. The 2020 MLB season should be a very intriguing season for many reasons. But these are just a few things to expect this year.