It’s An Asterisk Season; Outside the Box Scheduling


So do MLB Execs read TalkNats? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Bob Nightengale wrote this article MLB discussing plan to start season in late June, playing in home stadiums with realigned league and it looks pretty similar to what we described here.

For some reason they put the Braves in the Central and the Blue Jays in the East. But otherwise their leagues line up with our proposal. The thought of being able to watch every regular season Nationals game and NEVER having to hear or watch the Braves chop does sound like a great idea however.

Whether or not a late June start is possible (without fans) is still a question. So whether a 100 game season is possible is still up in the air.

Original Post.

A while back the idea was floated that MLB was looking into playing all the games for all the teams in Arizona taking advantage of the numerous Spring Training facilities there. The players would have to be isolated there. Sean and Eireann Doolittle made their dislike of that idea pretty public.  So did a lot of other players. The likelihood that the MLB Players Association would agree to the plan originally proposed (and most any variation of it) is almost certainly slim to none.

So here is an alternative idea. First, lets all acknowledge that this will be an an asterisk season. So let us think way outside the box; in other words, go crazy with some ideas.

  • First and foremost the players and the fans need to be safe.
  • Second, the players and the fans want fans in the stands.
  • The idea of a neutral site for the post-season is also a non-starter in my opinion. Even if it is only the World Series played at a neutral site.
  • The World Series needs to be over by late October/early November at the latest.

What does this mean? For one, a much shorter season, perhaps starting the season no later than late July or early August. That means that unless there are a lot of double headers (which the players have already objected to), the regular season will have to be on the order of 50 to 60 games.

So how do we get an interesting and exciting regular season of baseball?

  • Create 3 leagues, (10 teams each) with two divisions.
  • Assign the teams based on geography and proximity (to minimize travel) in their stadiums. In other words ignore the current leagues and divisions.
  • With 6 divisions we can create 5 teams in each division – just like now.
  • Teams in the same division would play 4 game home/away series (8 games total) against each other team in their division. That is 32 division games for each team.
  • Teams would play a shorter home/away series against each team in the other division in their league.
    • A 2 game home/away series (4 games) would be an additional 20 games for each team. A 52 game season.
    • A 3 game home away series  (6 games) would be an additional 30 games for each team. A 62 game season.

So how long would such a 52 game season take? Lets look at the typical season. Teams played 162 games in roughly 26 weeks. That is a little more than 6 per week. So lets go with 6 per week. So a 52 game season is a little less than 9 weeks. And a 62 game season is a little more than 10 weeks.

Now rank the teams and pick 8 for the post-season. Could be the 6 division winners and two wild card teams; or just the 4 teams in each league with the best record;  or the best 8 teams regardless of league; or . . . . I would also say no tiebreaker or play-in games – since this is an asterisk season, come up with some sort of reasonable tiebreakers.

And make league irrelevant for the post-season. So the first round would be 7 game series with 1 thru 4 getting home field:

  • 1 vs 8
  • 2 vs 7
  • 3 vs 6
  • 4 vs 5

Winners advance and rerank for home field:

  • 1 vs 4
  • 2 vs 3

And finally, the World Series.

Here is one suggestion for the the 6 groups based on geography. Note that we still have rivalry series.

Atlantic League
Northeast East
Red Sox  Nationals
 Yankees  Pirates
 Mets  Braves
 Phillies  Rays
 Orioles  Marlins
Central League
Great Lakes Central
 Blue Jays  Brewers
 Indians  Twins
 Tigers  Royals
 White Sox Reds
 Cubs  Cardinals
Western League
Pacific West
Mariners Padres
 Giants  Diamondbacks
 Athletics  Rockies
Dodgers Rangers
 Angels  Astros

Clearly there are logistics to work out and lots of alternatives.

But before we close, a poll. Given that the Nationals will only have games scheduled against teams in the Atlantic Division, who should the Nationals open the season against?

And of course, they should open at home. Given this Mike Rizzo quote, I’m sure he’d agree that waiting for fans to be able to attend is a must; there is no reason to wait more than 1 second after the first pitch.

As far raising the banner & distribution of rings, we’re going to wait for our fanbase to be involved. Those are once-in-a-lifetime things to do. Our fanbase is such a big factor in helping us win that thing. They earned it, they deserve to be involved.

My top 3 (in reverse order) are pretty simple. And the mis-spellings are intentional.

  1. The Philthies: after years of torment from their fans, there are few things I would enjoy more than watching them have to watch the Nationals raise the World Series banner.
  2. The Barves: Need I say more? The incessant we were better since we won the division got old pretty quickly.
  3. The Orioles (my mis-spelled name for them is not appropriate for public discussion). This is a no-brainer to me personally for a whole lot of reasons
    1. The MASN issues.
    2. Angelos being a [insert expletive here].
    3. Blocking DC from getting a team for years.
    4. The repeated false claims about just about everything.
    5. Plus I just don’t like them for the reasons I posted a few years back in Rant of a Senators fan: Winning the argument with your crazy Orioles fans relatives.

It is your turn now. Shoot some holes in this idea; make suggestions to improve it; or come up with something totally different. Maybe someone is listening.

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