Early this week we started seeing reports that Major League Baseball was discussing a plan that involved sending all 30 teams to Arizona to try and get a season started out of Chase Field and the spring training facilities. The plan was seen, by most, as tough to implement in the way that baseball was hoping that it could be. Of course, it makes sense to at least have the discussions and try to have some sort of plan in place in case the situations become more favorable (more testing, better testing, treatments that are both available and useful, etc.).
Today there is a new report out from Bob Nightengale of USA Today that another option that Major League Baseball is looking at is to hold two different “leagues” this year – with one at the spring training complexes in both Arizona and in Florida. The American League and National League wouldn’t exist in 2020, but instead there’s be basically a Cactus League and a Grapefruit League.
There would still be three divisions in each league – broken up by location in their spring training area. One proposal would have the Cincinnati Reds in a division with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and their home-sharer of Goodyear Ballpark Cleveland.
Another interesting thing with this plan is that there’s also a possibility that for the 2020 season that a designated hitter would be implemented for all teams. That is helpful on two fronts. The first being that with re-alignment that has both traditional American League and National League teams playing each other every day it’s just easier on everyone to not have to alter things every other day depending on who is the home or away team. But second, and perhaps more importantly – it may save you some pitchers in a scenario where you don’t have to pull guys to pinch hit for them. And if there’s going to be more games, fewer off days – with the idea that you play as many games as possible to make up for lost time – having to churn through fewer players on a daily basis on the mound is probably a good plan.
Much like the plan discussed earlier in the week, there are many things that still need to happen in order for this one to work. Many of those things are the same ones that the other plan hinged on: Better, faster, and accurate testing near the top of the list. But there’s also figuring out how to manage all of the non-baseball player staff that would be involved, as well as the travel and accommodations staff that would be required to make such a plan work. The logistical nightmare that this would be…. well, whoever would be in charge of making it happen deserves a raise, and I don’t even know what that person makes right now.