Just when you thought it was safe to go to bed, Bryce Harper popped up on Instagram late Friday night with some wild ideas for the 2020 Major League Baseball season.
Alongside a photo of the MLB logo was a caption seemingly a mile long, outlining everything Harper would like to see happen if the season can be safely played.
From a 135-game schedule squeezed into 138 days to a round-robin style postseason, Harper’s plan wouldn’t allow the players or fans much time to catch their breath.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 16, 2020
It’s a lot to digest, so let’s break it all down right here.
Harper’s regular season plan
Harper starts by laying out a 135-game schedule that would begin on July 1 and end on Nov. 15 — a span of a 138 days.
That seems impossible at first glance, but Harper has a plan to battle the exhaustion.
Teams would play 13 straight days, ending the stretch with a Sunday doubleheader consisting of consecutive seven-inning games. Where these games would be played is not clear. Every other Monday would then serve as an off day. Though Bryce didn’t mention the possibility, that day might have to serve as a make-up day for rained out games. Too many postponement could complicate the plan, but we’re admittedly intrigued so far.
As for the roster makeup, Harper suggests 30-man rosters with six-man pitching rotations to save pitchers from wear and tear. He says this idea would have some flexibility depending on what the pitchers are comfortable with.
In terms of how the league is divided, Harper says he envisions an East/West dynamic like the NBA. We’re not sure what that would mean for divisions. A straight-up conference setup without divisions would make sense given Harper’s postseason plans.
Harper’s postseason plan
Are you ready for this?
Harper’s plan calls for a 10-team, round-robin type tournament with several best-of-three series and wild cards and all kinds of potential madness.
I’ll let him explain this one.
Ten teams round robin format College World Series kinda style at the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium(s) are best. Three-game series. You win the series you move on. You lose you play the other loser in a one-game wildcard. Winner of that moves on. Other team is out. Or you could play it in Vegas so you have the Strip Hotels and could use one hotel for all the guys and contain possibly? ⠀
Two teams left, seven-game World Series. They get two days off before the series. With those two days off you do an All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. Could do the MLB awards as well at that time. ⠀
It’s ambitious. It’s chaotic. Perhaps even a little confusing. But it’s definitely something that would have people buzzing about baseball during what is typically football season.
It is possible? I suppose anything is possible if the players were committed to it. But between the marathon regular season that acts like a sprint and a compact postseason packed full of stressful games, it seems like a recipe for fatigue and injuries more than anything.
But man, it would be fun.
What about 2021 and 2022?
As Harper points out, this type of schedule would require some extra recovery in the offseason. To remedy that, he suggests pushing back opening day 2021 until May 1. Then in 2022, April 1.
Also, Harper wants every game to be available for fans to watch on every platform. No blackouts. Just non-stop baseball. Now that’s one point we can all get behind.
Harper admits his ideas are wild. But with disagreements about salaries — including comments from Blake Snell and Harper himself — dominating the news most of the week, it served as a nice change-of-pace.
Will we see baseball in 2020? We don’t know yet.
What will it look like? That we also don’t know.
Will it be weird? Most likely, yes. But we doubt it will reach Harper’s projected level of chaos.
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