The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB remain in a holding pattern regarding starting the season. I have to admit this is one of the strangest situations I’ve seen in my life – springtime with no baseball. No NBA or NHL playoffs. The NCAA tournament being canceled.
There are various opinions as to whether or not the season will eventually start. I still say that at some point it will. Whether that’s June or July remains to be seen. But I do personally believe we’ll have baseball this year. But who knows.
There are also multiple scenario’s for when the season will start, how many games will be played, etc. I’ll spare the details because there’s no point in going over that now when we just don’t know. However many of the ideas seem to center around teams playing games in spring training parks – which at first would be empty. (Perhaps eventually they could admit fans.) One even has the entire league centering in Arizona given that the parks are so close together.
However here’s another thought, or perhaps another spin on that. Throw out the concept of American League and National Leauge – just for this year. Assuming the 2021 season goes off as planned, everything would revert back to normal for that. But there are 15 teams (including the Orioles) in the Florida Grapefruit League, and 15 in the Arizona Cactus League.
You see where I’m going with this, obviously. Why not play out the season using that as a “line of demarcation” in a sense, and have teams battle it out to go to the playoffs in their spring training “divisions?” Then obviously you have a World Series between whomever comes out of the Grapefruit League, and whomever comes out of the Cactus League.
At first, it would keep teams in one geographic area, and yes this would presume that at least at first there would be no fans. However as time goes on, perhaps things loosen up a bit, allowing fans to attend games. On top of that, perhaps at some point and in certain situations, games could transition back to the cities that the teams represent.
There would be a lot of logistics involved in this sort of idea, including rules. I would hope that in this model the league might agree on one uniform set of rules, meaning either the use of a DH or having pitchers hit. You would obviously still have series’ and so forth, and yes there would potentially be doubleheaders.
I’m not big on gimmicks in baseball. I’m somewhat of a purist, and in general I don’t think the sport should be amenable to too much change. But if you’re going to utilize the spring training facilities and so forth, that seems like a plausible way to do it. One way or the other, there’s going to have to be some movement away from the norm in order for a season (potentially a shorter season) to be played. One way or the other, my hope is that the words PLAY BALL! ring out from somewhere fairly soon.