With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs to shutter their facilities and send their players home this Spring, the start of the 2020 season has been left in limbo with little-to-no light at the end of the tunnel.
While recording the debut episode of the Chicago Dugout Podcast, my co-host Austin Bloomberg asked the question, “what would an abbreviated 2020 look like?”
Honestly, with everything that has rapidly transpired over the last two or three weeks, I hadn’t given it much real thought. So I did that, and here’s what I came up with.
This timeline is contingent on the current trend of “stay-at-home” orders remaining in place, and that we’re able to see some return to normalcy towards the end of May.
If that’s the case, clubs can use what they have to work with in the month of June to run an abbreviated camp, whether that be at their normal Spring Training facility, or at their ballpark with the weather pretty nice at that point.
- Each team will play a revised and condensed schedule of 88 games that will commence on July 3, 2020 and conclude after the week of October 5, 2020. This would allow the Postseason to begin the week of October 12, 2020.
- Interleague play will be scrapped for the 2020 season.
- Teams will play a total of 48 games against their divisional opponents; six at their home ballpark, and six on the road.
- Teams will play a total of 40 games against the non-divisional opponents; two at their home ballpark, and two on the road.
- Teams will be allowed to expand their regular season roster from 26 to 28, allowing each club to carry 14 positional players and 14 pitchers to prevent any fatigue concerns from the abbreviated schedule.
- The 2020 MLB All-Star Game will take place after the World Series, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will still host. Voting will take place during the Postseason.
Curious as to what this might look like? Fear not, I’ve took the liberty of creating a revised 2020 schedule for the Chicago White Sox under the parameters listed above.
As you can see in the graphic above, the White Sox will open their 2020 season under the lights at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, July 3 against the Kansas City Royals.
The White Sox and all of Major League Baseball will open the 2020 season with a celebration of the return of America’s pastime, on the weekend of America’s Independence.
Once play begins, I’ve inserted just two days off for the Sox in July, which will be their least amount of days off in a single month during the schedule.
In August the club gets three days off, and plays a balanced mixture of home and away games. The theme I tried to stick with was five-game home or road trips, but from time-to-time I had to deviate to a shorter or longer homestand or road trip.
In September, I’ve given the White Sox another three days of rest in between their schedule which becomes very American League Central heavy down the stretch in traditional fashion.
Finally in October, the Sox finish out their 2020 regular season schedule with a six-game road trip to Cleveland, and Minnesota, setting up a potential race to the finish for the division title if the club is competitive enough to warrant it.
The season wraps up on Wednesday for the Sox, and will likely be completed sometime between Wednesday and Friday for the rest of the league, giving teams a weekend of rest before the Postseason kicks off during the second week of October.
This revised schedule accomplishes a few things. First and foremost, it allows for there to be an actual 2020 season. It also allows fans to reunite with their beloved baseball on the weekend that’s as synonymous with the sport as beer and Cracker Jacks.
It’ll allow the Los Angeles Dodgers — and the City of Los Angeles — to keep the All-Star Game, given their warm climate, and allow players to experience the once in a lifetime opportunity of playing in the mid-summer classic.
Aside from the physical presence of baseball and the obvious nostalgia, this plan allows teams to complete over 50 percent of their regular schedule, gives fans with season ticket packages a crack at attending just over 50 percent of said games, and keeps a balanced schedule that will allow teams to battle into the fall for the grandest jewel of them all, a World Series championship.