It seems that the further we get into not having started a baseball season, the more plans we start to see come out closer to the previous one that they seem to not like as much. This morning saw Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times report yet another plan that Major League Baseball has discussed, and that several of the ones we’ve heard about in the past seem more and more unlikely to happen.

This plan Topkin’s refers to in his piece may be the one we spoke about earlier this week with some small tweaks to it. Essentially teams would play an abbreviated season with the hopes it begins in late June or early July. From his report it reads that teams would play within their division, and likely the same division from the other league (so the Reds would play teams in both the National League Central as well as the American League Central). That’s almost the same as the plan that was floated earlier in the week with “new” divisions that basically combined the divisions, but had the Pirates and Braves swapping from Central to East, and East to Central.

While there have been a lot of plans about how and where to get the regular season started, the playoffs are a bit more of an unknown. There’s been discussion of an expanded playoff due to the lack of games played in the regular season. But how expanded, or the format for the playoffs all seems to just be speculation rather than anything even remotely formal when it comes to discussions by Major League Baseball.

There’s still a lot of things to figure out between now and whenever the season would be expected to start. The players and owners have different opinions on whether or not there is a deal in place about salaries in 2020. How the roster size will play out, and if there could be something like a “taxi squad” of inactive players that trains with the team in case of an injury/illness/whatever without the likelihood of a minor league season happening is undecided, though almost certainly will be necessary. What will the testing protocol be for everyone involved at the ballparks (players, team personnel, gameday staff for both the team and media once everyone gets back together)?

Lots of questions. Still very few answers. But it seems that we get more and more proposed solutions every week now.

24 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    Tompkins report is much like I predicted. It still keeps the league’s intact and I guess a “true” world series. Only will have to determine the number of games within the division and then the number with the other Central division. Then lay out a new schedule. 4 game series within your division will help to cut down travel a little. 16 games within the division for 2 home and home 4 game series. That would give them 64 games. Then 2 series of 3 games each with the other leagues division. 1 home and home 3 game series. Thats 30 more games for a total of 94.
    Will off days be required with reduced travel and expanded rosters? Maybe. May also be needed for making up rain outs. Players are going to want to play 94 straight days, so maybe 5 or 6 off days can be built in the schedule. So they will need to have about 100 days to play 94. Adding up all the days in July, August and September is 92 days. So a season will have to either run into October or start by June 24. Then there will be the second spring training. Maybe 2 to 2 1/2 weeks. That would put spring training starting around June 7-10.
    Its workable but cutting it close.

  2. AirborneJayJay

    Sorry I meant players are NOT going to want to play 94 straight days. So some off days may be required.

    • Jim Walker

      The devil is always in the the details. They could expand the rosters and mandate each player gets a free off day every week and isn’t even allowed at the game site that day (save to receive medical attention if needed).

      Perhaps make every man on the 40 man roster available but allow only 20 or 21 to be designated active for any given game. Limit active pitchers to 6 or 7 for each game.

  3. Jim Walker

    The seemingly endless floating of plans with periodic changes in the underlying core suggests to me that MLB cannot come up with a plan which they are comfortable with in terms of logistics and economics.

    Factor in that MLB is also trying to walk back their agreement with the MLBPA that per game player salaries would be 1/162 of a players full contract amount; and there is reason to believe economics of the logistics simply does work. They can’t afford to stage a season at this point.

    • Jim Walker

      From above:

      “the economics of the logistics simply does work”. Of course was meant to be:

      “”the economics of the logistics simply does NOT work”

      • Sliotar

        @Jim Walker

        Your pessimism on MLB having a season in 2020 has been posted here. Several times now.

        To each their own. Everyone has an opinion.

        However … as someone who has worked through this pandemic daily in logistics, doing so for more than 10 years straight … of course, MLB can stage a season (of some kind) in 2020.

      • Jim Walker

        @solitar
        They can only do what they can afford. One of the results of the pandemic is that we are seeing businesses humbled which it is beyond our pale to imagine being humbled.

        Is it unreasonable to assume that networks are only going to pay MLB a reduced amount for the games because A) there will be many fewer games and B) they themselves will be receiving less carriage revenue from cable and streaming companies due to customer cancellations owing to economic hardship?
        That this will also result in lower advertising revenues?
        That advertisers (largely breweries and eateries) will be hesitant to advertise at all when they are suffering deep loses in revenue and an uncertain fall forecast regarding business conditions?

        The lead time to get things back to whatever a “new normal” may be does not favor that happening in time to facilitate much of a baseball season, especially with the experts warning of a “second wave” of the pandemic come fall.

        I do not consider myself either pessimistic or aspirational. Just trying to see and take things as they come.

      • BK

        Well said Jim … lots of steps to make things happen. I think it’s a given, anyone reading/posting on this site WANTS to see baseball happen ASAP. That said, it finding a way to conduct games that is logistically feasible AND financially viable is apparently proving quite vexing.

  4. Sliotar

    There are several factors still to be finalized …. but, no one is suggesting a start of earlier than late June/early July.

    That is a long time away in event planning, especially when a primary factor …. where can games be hosted … is not an “if”, but rather looks like a choice of “AZ/FL/TX” or “home parks.”

    -Will the players agree to play
    -Can compensation be agreed upon
    -Can test kits be available without optics of “taking away from general public”

    If those are nailed down … playing in home parks (no fans) would appear to solve problem of players seeing families, as well as limiting furloughs/layoffs with teams, as more employees would stay engaged with home games, as in previous seasons.

  5. Sliotar

    When team executives in every top league (MLB/NBA/NHL/NFL) is now actively discussing playing games in 2020 …

    all of which have different schedules, different game operation needs and in the case of the NHL, multiple countries involved…

    I choose to take that as more positive than negative.

    • Jim Walker

      The underlying theme is that they all are continuing to “actively discuss” and not a single one of them has put forth any sort of official plan even in draft format.

      NBA said something a couple of days ago about opening training facilities in areas where local status allowed it. Now we get this quote via Twitter:
      GSW coach Steve Kerr: “It definitely feels like the season is done for us.”
      And a WaPo story that cites sources saying NBA is “nowhere near” playing again.

      I’m not saying either of those are accurate as to their assessment of the situation but they underline that the situation is totally not moving forward in terms of concrete plans for resumption of play.

      • VaRedsFan

        The Warriors season is over because of their record. If they come back just to play 20 games, it won’t mean anything to them, so their season is virtually over.

  6. Don

    I hope that the powers that be in baseball understand that the 1st major sport to start playing games and having them on TV will get huge ratings.

    The American public is starved for sports (distractions from everyday life) and really fed up with the stay at home sanctions.

    The goal of social distancing was to flatten the curve as to not overwhelm hospitals with patience with the result being that same number of people get the virus over a longer period of time but the same number of people will get the virus. There is no preventing the spread of a virus, if there was then the seasonal flu would not occur every year. The flattening of the curve has occurred for a vast majority of the country. There will be cases of this virus infecting humans for the rest of the time which humans exist. People need to take care of themselves and protect themselves.

    Plans to get to some type of normal have to start occurring. Humans fill figure it out, human kind has always figured out how to survive. It is not natural for humans to not congregate and enjoy each others company, this activity has also occurred since the time of humans existence.

    Humans have to adapt and figure out how to live in the environment that now exist.

    The sooner this starts occur the better it will be for everyone and the sooner humans will figure out what to do and how to act.

    • Jim Walker

      Don,

      Well stated.

      However I just returned from going thru the drive up at a local restaurant and saw zero (other) folks wearing any sort of facial covering. Then we cruised the local Kroger (on the same big lot) on our way out and saw more of then same.

      Note that the suggested best practices in the state of Ohio are that all folks should wear facial coverings at all times in public. The same (obviously applies in stores).

      Unfortunately the sort of behavior I saw will get us back to where we were or even worse in short order.

      • Jon

        Same here. Was driving around yesterday and there were more people outside than ever. I’m not talking just individuals, couples, or single families. I’m talking about seeing an entire cul-de-sac having a social gathering with 20-30 people gathered in the street and on the sidewalk. Gas stations are constantly busy, both with people filling their tanks, as well as going inside and forming lines at the register.

    • VaRedsFan

      Don is correct.
      Most people will get it, or be vaccinated for it.
      Just everybody getting it all at once is the problem.

      Make a plan, start the season, get on with living, people will adapt…overcome

      • Jim Walker

        Herd immunity, if it works with COVIS19 which isn’t established yet, is variously estimated at 60-65% of the population pool being infected (since vaccination is not a short run option).

        Do the numbers for the count of deaths it will entail to get the infected population % to those levels with a population pool of 330M and 60K deaths from the first 1M cases.

        Nothing short of a widespread breakdown of civil order is worth that many deaths, IMO.

  7. TR

    I’ll leave it up to those getting the big bucks to get us to a semblance of a MLB season this year. There’s a myriad of details in reviving baseball, other pro sports and competitive college athletics. Meanwhile, hopefully we all have routines that get us through the day minus Reds baseball during these times.

  8. Don

    On a happier not the REDS all time team beat the Dodgers 4 games to 2 in the MLB.COM Draft King All time team bracket.

    Reds play the Yankees in the all time team World Series on Monday.

  9. RedNat

    Jim and sliotar, i appreciate the debate. I hope to God Sliotar you are right and we get to see some form of baseball this year.

    It is so weird. The last game i went to last year was September 3rd last year against the Phils. We lost 6 to 2 and it was a pretty forgettable game. When i was leaving gabp though, i had this sensation that this would be the last time i would attend a game as a fan.

    Coronavirus gets old men with comorbidities. This describes me perfectly. So far the experts have been pretty much spot on. This virus with mitigation will still kill 100-200k over the next year which seems to be spot on.
    Dr. Fauci basically said sports with fans will not return until a vaccine is developed and there is no reason not to believe him. The players are not to thrilled to play in empty stadiums and there is no reason not to believe them.
    I do hope dr. Fauci is right and a vaccine can be developed in 12 to 18 months. I can’t get my old biology professor from Miami university (oxford) though. He basically said big viruses like smallpox for example cause more damage but because of their size have more targets for vaccines. Small viruses like the ones that cause the common cold like coronavirus are not as devastating but have fewer targets for vaccines or treatments. Hence no treatment or vaccine for the common cold.

    I am rambling but basically my heart is with Sliotar but my brain is with Jim on this one. No baseball for a while. Which stinks

  10. VaRedsFan

    I think they need to put a plan in place instead of throwing out different scenarios.
    Have a plan to start a 2 week spring training, season start in spring facilities for 30 days, reevaluate whether to move from spring sites to the teams home sites without fans, then with fans.
    Once you make a time line to start the season, then you can delay that start if necessary. I really don’t think it is asking too much to start spring and the first 30 days are fanless and in a segregated community where all the people involved are virus free.

    • Jim Walker

      MLB could at say this (or any scheme) was the planned progression even if they if they were unable to name the exact starting date.

      Or that they’ve formed a working group of owners, players and other stakeholders to come up with a plan and continuously massage it along with the turn of events. They could say, we will need X days (weeks) “spring training”; and, if we can start by July 1, the season will look like plan A; or mid July like plan B; or August like plan C.

      They could even be honest enough to say they don’t have a definite plan because the entire situation is still too fluid and unsettled.

      But they don’t. We are left to our own speculations and conclusions.

  11. vegastypo

    I’m with Ohio Jim here, totally. ….

    From CDC statistics for 2018-19, “35.5 million people getting sick with influenza, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths from influenza.” Keep in mind, that is with the availability of a flu vaccine that keeps people from getting sick, or lessens the severity after an infection.

    Now, when Covid has no vaccine, leaving it free to circulate, the U.S. death toll is listed at over 67,000 in just three months, and that is even when trying to keep some distance from each other. (With some people trying harder to do that than others, obviously.)

    Relying on herd immunity sounds like an open invitation to fatten, rather than flatten, the curve. I don’t want to go through this again once we realize the number of deaths from herd immunity is too high of a price to pay.

  12. Optimist

    I’m still in favor of playing into December in Az/Fla/Tex/Ca. That would be playoffs/WS. Certainly year round playing conditions available there, and it would allow a 140+ game regular season with a July 1 start. It also allows some sort of ramp-up restrictions thru the summer, including both attendance limits and travel/league realignment.

    Also allows a 4-6 week “training period” mid-May to July 1.

    Problems would occur at the start and finish – namely, the training period will show if disease spread cannot be overcome, and a second wave in mid-winter would likewise end the season.

    The key is the number of games – every game over 100 adds legitimacy. 100 really is the minimum.