A new day and a new plan has been leaked by MLB in an attempt to get the 2020 season underway. What is the plan and how does it impact the Seattle Mariners? Let’s discuss it.
After their originally leaked plan caused quite a stir and a lot of negative reaction, Major League Baseball leaked a new plan that would alleviate some of the smaller concerns from the first plan they leaked. Obviously, this plan would have a reasonable impact on the Mariners, and the other 29 teams. Let’s get into specifics.
The first leak detailed a plan that would place all 30 teams in Arizona, utilizing the 10 spring training ballparks and Chase Field, as well as some undetermined sites, to start playing games by the end of May.
There is a myriad of issues with this plan and the new plan seems to relieve some of the more superficial issues. This new plan calls for teams to return to their own Spring Training home ballpark in either Florida or Arizona. The Grapefruit League and Cactus League would basically act as the new AL and NL for the 2020 seasons.
Splitting the teams into separate parts of the country would alleviate some of the crowdedness issues and provide few 2 more MLB stadiums into the mix in Tampa Bay and Miami. It would also allow teams to be in familiar surroundings, allowing MLB teams to play their home games and train in their own facility.
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The plan also calls for realignment of the divisions to be more conducive to a lighter travel schedule, which would help the Grapefruit League, who would need to travel substantially more than the Cactus League. The idea would be to play 12 games against each division rival, and 6 games against the rest of the cactus leave. With 5 teams in each division, this plan would call for the Mariners, and every MLB team, to play 108 games.
In this new proposal, the Mariners would play in the “Northwest Division” with the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals. The DH would become universal and there would be a single doubleheader every day, with teams rotating that responsibility.
The playoff system is still unknown, but the possibility of having division winners and wildcard teams is more likely in this proposal. MLB could expand the playoffs to 7 teams in each league and has even discussed a tournament style where all 30 teams participate. There are a number of things left to work out.
But what this plan doesn’t address are the issues of player and staff health. Without universal and fast testing that is available to the public, any plan should be dead on arrival. Even if the testing gets figured out, there is still the issue of players signing on to be away from their loved ones for 4.5 months.
On top of that, there are health concerns rightfully raised about asking teams to play outdoors in Arizona, a state whose average temperature in the summer is 105 degrees. Asking teams like the Mariners to play in that weather every day is going to come with its own issues. For the Grapefruit League, the questions are about Florida’s unwillingness to act quickly and it has paid the price with cases of Covid-19 increasing quickly.
There are so many holes in these plans. The willingness to split the teams between two states is a step in the right direction and no perfect plan exist. But until testing is quick and available to the public on a large scale, MLB shouldn’t get special treatment. If you or I can’t get a test, there is no reason MLB should get to “jump the line” or hoard test.
Every plan is going to have its issues. But no plan can even begin to be formulated until the quick and free access to testing is available to everybody, not just the people who work for the Seattle Mariners.