We’ve all seen the Major League Baseball proposal from this week, right? The one that would essentially start the first week of July and be roughly half of a season, then have an expanded playoff and be over by the start of November? Well, the Major League Baseball Players Association still hasn’t quite gotten the full proposal from MLB as the two sides continue to meet this week, so it hasn’t even been voted on yet – but on Friday there were a few “outsider” proposals, too.

JJ Cooper of Baseball America weighed in with a proposal that he thought was intriguing that could work for both the owners and the players. Cooper’s plan would be for a 44-game regular season with a 20-team playoff. As he says in the article, “Is it radical? Absolutely. Is it ideal? Not a chance. Is is the best from an array of bad options? Maybe.” He later notes that maybe the regular season could be expanded for 60 games instead of 44. He lays out why it could make sense (monetarily) for both sides a little bit, but also notes that there’s still a lot more than money stuff to be figured out and negotiated between the two sides.

But it’s not just us baseball writers that are coming up with ideas on how to possibly move forward with a 2020 season for Major League Baseball. Bryce Harper, one of the most known players in the league, had some ideas for how a season could look if he were in charge and shared them on Friday as well. It’s a lot different from the plan that Cooper proposed above.

He laid it out in an instagram post, and it certainly gets wild. The season would start in July and run through mid-November, playing 135 games. Each team would get an off day every two weeks on a Monday. Sunday would be “double header” day consisting of two 7-inning games (you may or may not know this, but in minor league baseball when there are double headers the games are both 7-inning affairs – players are used to this format).

Harper continues, noting that rosters would be 30 players. He also brought up the idea of 6-man rotations, if the pitchers wanted that, and that there would be a universal designated hitter. For the playoffs you get a 10-team round robin tournament, College World Series style, at a neutral site with 3-game series. Winners move on, and the losing team faces off against another losing team in a 1-game scenario where you win and advance or lose and the season is over. The World Series would be a normal best-of-7 series. Between the round robin tournament and the World Series he proposed a 2-day “break” where MLB would host the All-Star game and Home Run Derby.

His plan would also lead to a pushed back start of the regular season to May 1st next year (likely so players still get the amount of rest required between seasons to reduce injury risk the following year), and then in 2022 a start date of April 1st.

The two plans are both a bit at the extremes. But it was an interesting look at how different ideas are out there from just about anyone and everyone. What are your thoughts on the plans? Do you have a totally different idea of how to do things that could be feasible?

16 Responses

  1. Tom Mitsoff

    I like Harper’s idea better. The only caveat is that it will run into November, which is around the time when the second spike of virus could hit. There is no such thing as a sure thing that any sports league will be able to play uninterrupted by virus, but odds are it would be a bit better if the timetable for season end and post-season is earlier in the fall.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree. If they are going to play at all, there is a lot more legitimacy to Harper’s idea. It would put a lot more money in the pockets of both the owners and players. The only purely financial issue should be how much advertisers are willing to pay for airtime. Then again…..

    • JayTheRed

      I too like Harper’s idea better. The only thing I am worried about is that is states that are reopening we are already starting to see new increases in the number of cases at least in the northern states.

      I hope baseball is played this year just like every other fan out there. I just hope we don’t lose players to the disease because of it.

      • Jim Walker

        The health, political and financial pieces are intertwined. However since it is basically the same group of us discussing the situation here everyday, I’m taking the position that most everybody knows where I stand on the politics and health from my previous comments.

        So, now I am trying to stick to financial and logistics if and a BIG IF, they do in fact try to play.

        But I don’t promise not to get otherwise spun up 😉

  2. AirborneJayJay

    To quote Brockmire, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.”
    If they return to the field, it should resemble a regular season as much as possible. As close to one as they can work out. Otherwise it is nothing more than one big exhibition. Talk about players opting out. Why risk a major injury over a junk season like this proposal? The major stars in the game will think long and hard about joining in on this. Especially the pitchers.
    The pay inequity would have to be addressed. Will it still be pro-rated? Are the “postseason” games part of the total games of pro -rated pay? Players on teams rebuilding or sucky teams will get eliminated quickly and May only get in 46 or 47 games. While players on better teams might get 60 or more games played. Will their salaries be pro-rated over 60 games then while other players are pro -rated over 46 games?

  3. BK

    As for Harpers proposal, if the owners are unwilling to accept the losses associated with fanless baseball over an 81-game season, it would seem a longer one, with players getting a higher percentage of their salaries would be a no-go as well as it would add well over $1B in additional expense for the season. The college baseball tournament set ups are exciting, in my view, but they would take away a lot of meaning from the regular season, particularly if it’s 135 games.

    I’d like a longer season than the 44 games Cooper proposed, but I like the framework he laid out. It is a good one that could help bridge the gap between both sides positions.

  4. Kevin Davis

    Do not like Harper’s proposal. As much as a love baseball, by the time October rolls around I am deep into football (pro and college), and now college basketball starts earlier in November. That is if we have those seasons. Doesnt say (and I didn’t calculate) how long it would take to get through the playoffs. You would be deep in the stetch run of PRO football, and PRO basketball would have started. Start July 1st and play 81 games and hope next year is better off.

    • Jim Walker

      Pro footall and all basketball are nonstarters for me. Guess that’s where my different point of view comes from. But if the NHL is playing then, I’d want some accommodation with FSHOH on that.

      • BK

        That’s too funny; I’m just the opposite and like basketball and football. I only do hockey in Olympic years, but that’s what happens when you grow up on the Gulf Coast where snow is something you read about in books and see in movies, but rarely experience.

        To me the problem with pushing MLB into the other seasons is that I would think competing with the other sports would dilute revenue potential. In November, college football is really heating up as each game has playoff implications and the rivalry games are always huge ratings earners. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure MLB will get a big revenue bump by playing longer.

      • TR

        I’ve always felt pro sports leagues have extended their seasons beyond what is needed but of course this is done for monetary reasons. Even hockey has extended the Stanley Cup playoffs almost into July. Definitely hockey is an exciting game and takes a lot of skill, but like many others I find it difficult to follow the puck. I tried to become a fan years ago by attending a number of Cincinnati Mohawk (International League) games at the old Gardens, but it didn’t take.

      • Colorado Red

        An aside, it took me several years of watching, not to follow the puck, but the players (obviously the puck is important). When I did that I could see the plays developing.
        Note, Former Tampa Bay lighting season ticket hold, and Colorado Avalanche Ticket holder.
        Overall, I think I like The MLB proposal the best, and am concerned about the post season in NY or other northern cities.

  5. RedNat

    I think these proposals are making things too complicated than they have to be. The point of the 2020 mlb season is to help heal the country and to help put baseball back in the limelight.

    I like the idea of 3 regional divisions and an abbreviated playoff and world series. I think you would like to see the season over before mid october before flu season gets underway.

    I think baeball is really in a great position to dominate the sports world if the owners and players play their cards right. Nfl,nba, and nhl are really going to have to reinvent themselves due to the fact that they are close contact sports and their seasons correlate with flu season. Baseball on the otherhand is well suited for this pandemic. I just hpoe the players and owners dont get too greedy.

  6. RedNat

    I just was thinking about this. Old riverfront stadium would be the perfect stadium to have fans during this pandemic.it would be very easy to social distance . You had 12 or 13 gates ( i cant remember) where fans could enter and 55k seats so you could easily allow 30 k a game and maintain the 6 foot rule.

  7. CFD3000

    I vote for whichever proposal delivers the most games. First because I miss baseball and want as many games as time will permit. Second because the longer the regular season the more legitimate that World Series title at the end will be. Any team that wins a title after a 60 game season will always have a huge asterisk next to the flag for that year. I’m not someone who gets distracted from baseball by football, basketball or hockey, so it’s hard for me to gage how much overlap with those sports might dilute excitement for the playoffs, but for me I’d rather watch a meaningful Reds game in October or even November than other sports. But most of all, I really hope 2020 can somehow include real baseball…

    • Reaganspad

      Kind of like when the Reds got screwed during Fernando mania.

      Whatever is done, somebody will not be happy. I would not go into November and risk impacting 2 seasons. I do not care about the format, let them play ball

  8. REDSMAN

    Wow!

    The last few comments remind me that there is still a core of people out there who are first and foremost…BASEBALL fans!
    That is really refreshing, and thanks for them. I certainly hope the owners and players are able to reach some accommodation very soon in order for us to salvage a real baseball season. I am not very hopeful that will be the case, yet hope springs eternal!
    Any proposal that we have expanded playoffs is purely and simply nothing more than a money grab! I guess that should be expected, but maybe, just maybe cooler heads will prevail.

    I, like all of you was so hopeful of seeing this revamped team take the field this year…in spite of the inauspicious and truncated spring training. At this point, I am reduced to watching KOREAN baseball.
    Frankly, it isn’t so bad. It makes me happy that baseball is being played professionally somewhere, even if it is Korea and Taiwan. But, I digress. Let’s hope someone comes up with something in between the Bryce Harper collegiate aspiration and the other proposals that seem just a little hokey. Our game has already been reduced
    to a pinballesque nature as is. Watching some of the replay ‘classics’
    has really reminded me just how radically things have changed in a rather short time frame. I do not pine for the old ‘dead-ball’ era, however we certainly could use some good common sense adjustments as opposed to all Manfred’s minutiae, and detail oriented attack on the real game of baseball.

    Let’s get things going soon, and hopefully with fans in the house!